In this lecture, I'm going to talk to you about the difference between harm reduction and abstinence. If you grew up in America in the 80s, or 90s, you'd likely remember the dare program. So dare stood for drug abuse resistance education, and it failed miserably. Drug and alcohol use went up. And the data showed the effectiveness of the program. There was an abstinence based approach, which meant schools and parents were encouraged to teach kids to never touch drugs, or alcohol because they're bad, like sex.
Abstinence only approaches simply don't work. But what does work is a harm reduction approach. And that's what science has proven over and over again. harm reduction isn't about teaching kids to not do drugs or alcohol, but rather if they Do do them to be open, honest and safe. The more open and honest kids can be, the more likely they are to wait longer and take less risks, the pressure and the Curiosity goes down. Combined with a harm reduction approach, specifically with drugs and alcohol.
Science has also shown that the concept of age of first use plays a huge role in whether or not kids will abuse drugs or alcohol. When you extend the age of first use, they can use drugs or alcohol after their brain is more developed, and then be able to make better and smarter choices. So for example, if someone starts drinking at the age of 12, and gradually increases their use over the years, by the time they're 21, they're likely to be full blown alcoholic However, if a child's age of first uses 20, when they're 21, they're still experimenting, but with a much more mature mindset, and their brains are able to function in a way that a 12 year old brain just couldn't have. So with that being said, In this course, we will use the harm reduction approach with the end goal of increasing your child's age of first use.
If your child drinks or experiments with drugs or alcohol at the age of 19, then they're no longer kids and you've done your job as a parent by keeping your kids drug and alcohol free. However, if you're here because your child has already experimented, and you're not sure how to stop it, or how to proceed, don't be worried. These strategies will help you gain a better understanding of where they were when they started using drugs or alcohol, and I'll help you get them back on track.