The Prevention Services Program provides technical support and direct assistance to schools to help them create a safe and healthy learning environment that leads to increased student success. In addition, the program supports and collaborates with parents and the community in fostering a safe and healthy community for positive youth development. Specific services include:
- Provide technical assistance to schools on prevention programs, curriculum and youth development activities,
- Collaborate with schools, parents and other community organizations to support youth development and success,
- Provide community and parent education on youth development, alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, school safety, and bullying,
- Offer schools (staff and student) and the community access to a Resource Library for information on all topics related to prevention including DVD and VHS materials
- Coordinate trainings and speakers on requested topics for schools and community.
- Coordinate the Annual Caring Youth Count Awards acknowledging the youth in Colusa County for healthy choices and behaviors indicative of good character.
- Coordinate the administration of the California Healthy Kids Survey completed by Colusa County 5th, 7th, 9th and 11th grade students every other school year. (For the most recent results see the Wested link at the end of this document.)
- Present trainings to schools and the community on the Search institute’s 40 Developmental Assets. (For more on Assets see link at the end of this document.)
Frequently Asked Questions
Why does the law require that you must be 21 years of age to consume alcohol?
- Research reveals that adolescents are more vulnerable than adults to the effects of alcohol on learning and memory and it clearly indicates that delaying the use of alcohol reduces the risks of harming the developing brain, a developmental process that continues into the early 20s. The hippocampus handles many types of memory and learning and is the part of the brain that is most damaged by teen drinking.
- Research shows teen drinkers score worse than their non-drinking peers on vocabulary, visual-spatial, and memory tests, and are more likely to perform poorly in school as a whole. Additionally, research indicates that they are more likely to have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts and violence.
- Deferred drinking also reduces the risks of developing alcohol dependence or abuse later in life. Deferring the initiation of alcohol consumption is more challenging with a lower Mandatory Legal Drinking Age. There is ‘trickle-down’ effect when youth get alcohol; they often give it to even younger teens. If the drinking age is 18 and 19, then 17, 16 year-olds and even younger have easier access to alcohol
What is meant by the term “gateway drugs?”
- The gateway drug theory is that the use of certain “milder” drugs, like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana increases the likelihood that people — especially teens — will then be at greater risk for using “heavier” drugs, like heroin or cocaine. While research shows that not all people who use alcohol, tobacco or marijuana move on to street drugs, it does show that drug addicts almost always identify using alcohol, tobacco or marijuana before they moved on to the “harder drugs.” Gateway drugs may seem milder, but they can be just as harmful if not more so to the young developing brain and body as the so called “harder drugs.
Have the number of people smoking decreased over the last several years?
- Yes. However, the rates of tobacco smoking among teenagers are still higher than those of adults. On top of that, about 1 in 7 high school boys use some form of spit or other type of smokeless tobacco. More than 2% of high school girls use spit or smokeless tobacco. Nearly all first use of tobacco takes place before high school graduation. Over 50% of high school students have tried cigarette smoking at some point. In 2008, more than 1 out of 4 kids age 12 or older were current tobacco users.
- The younger you are when you begin to smoke, the more likely you are to be an adult smoker. Almost 90% of adults who are regular smokers started at or before the age 19.
How can I tell if my child is involved in gangs?
- Change in types of friends
- Changes in dress habits, such as wearing the same color combination all the time (note: that style changes quickly and just because a child wears a certain type of clothing does not mean he or she is in a gang)
- Displaying gang symbols on books, clothing, or locker
- Wearing tattoos
- Carrying extra cash from unknown sources
- Carrying a weapon
- Losing interest in school and family
- Getting arrested or detained by police
- Becoming truant
- Using alcohol and other drugs
- Talking in gang-style language
- Using hand signals to communicate with others.