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"Living the Example" A Peer-to-Peer Drug Prevention Program for High School Students in Columbia County, NY

Mentor Foundation USA
Posted on: 02 Nov 17
"Living the Example" A Peer-to-Peer Drug Prevention Program for High School Students in Columbia County, NY

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2017

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Like many communities impacted by the opioid crisis, now declared as a nationwide public health emergency, Columbia County, NY is suffering immensely. The opioid mortality rate in Columbia County has increased 300% in the past five years, emergency departments in the area are inundated with opioid overdose reversals and hospitalizations. Connections to resources and prevention are a key focus for saving our children and communities.

This Fall, Mentor Foundation USA launched the continuation and expansion of an innovative "peer-to-peer" driven drug prevention program, developed and evaluated in partnership with The George Washington University.  The program is serving four high schools in Columbia County, NY; Ichabod Crane, Taconic Hills, Germantown, and Hudson City School.  The program, which trains students in leadership, advocacy and social media was piloted in Columbia County last academic school year and showed promising results in terms of shifts in attitudes towards drugs and intent to use.  Read the published pilot evaluation in JMIR Mental Health.

The interactive peer-to-peer driven program is called "Living the Example" (LTE), an initiative that incorporates messages for prevention specifically designed to counteract the misinformation adolescents have about drugs.  Youth Ambassadors are trained in leadership, advocacy and social media to help positively influence their peers, and drive school-wide "Change Projects." "Using social media as a tool for substance use prevention is a promising strategy, especially given the low cost and low burden as an intervention channel, which schools, communities, and prevention programs can use as an approach, even in low resource settings," says Michaela Pratt, President of Mentor Foundation USA.

This year, the Columbia County Department of Health is directly supporting the program with two designated staff members working together with Mentor Foundation USA. "The power of the LTE program and what has made us excited to work with Mentor Foundation USA is that it is peer-to-peer based. Adults can educate but we can't relate at the same level as student to student," says Jack Mabb, Director, Columbia County Department of Health. 

This program is made possible by the generous support of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Rip Van Winkle Foundation, Rheinstrom Hill Community Foundation, Hudson River Trust Bank & Trust Co. Foundation, and the Columbia County Community Healthcare Consortium Inc. 

Mentor Foundation USA  is a member affiliate of Mentor International, which was founded in 1994 by Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden and the World Health Organization and is the largest network of its kind for evidence based programs that prevent drug abuse among youth. Collectively, Mentor has implemented projects in over 80 countries impacting more than 6 million youth.  Mentor is now represented in the USA, Sweden, Denmark, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, the UK, and has regional offices in Lebanon serving 22 Arab countries.

Contact: Michaela Pratt: (571) 458-7050
michaela@mentorfoundationusa.org

View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/living-the-example-a-peer-to-peer-drug-prevention-program-for-high-school-students-in-columbia-county-ny-300548583.html

SOURCE Mentor Foundation USA

PR Newswire
www.prnewswire.com

Last updated on: 02/11/2017

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