Teen Drug Abuse: Community Nursing Interventions and Evaluation

Family-focused interventions

For a long time now, the family unit has been regarded as a potential target for nursing care. Lundy and Janes (2009) have provided a generalized family-focused nursing intervention for application in those families faced with the problem of substance abuse. In this case, the nurse offers family support with a view to promoting their goals and interests. In addition, when all members of the family are involved in such a strategy, this is in a way a form of family mobilization and by utilizing the strengths of the family the teenagers with the problem of substance abuse can be influenced positively. Moreover, by offering sibling support, the nurse is also in fact assisting the family to better understand the importance of providing attention and support to the other siblings who have not yet started abusing drugs. Moreover, this intervention strategy is also important because it enables the parents to better understand the various theories regarding the causes of substance abuse, as well as how the different substances affect teenagers.

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School-based intervention

Even as statistics indicate a reduction in the number of adolescents who abuse drugs since 1996, nonetheless, schools still remain by far one of the most effective intervention strategies in preventing teenage drug abuse. Without a doubt, it is during the middle adolescent years that a lot of teenagers often experiment with various drugs. In the school intervention strategy, the teenagers could be introduced to such a strategy program as the comprehensive school health. Lundy and Janes (2009) report that this is a broad strategy aimed at improving the overall health of the students. The movement regards health and education as highly integrated. Children are also thought to learn better when there is a balance between health and education. The primary objective of the movement is to improve the risk behaviors of students in the areas of drugs and alcohol abuse, tobacco use, physical activity, unintentional injuries, and sexual intercourse.

Community intervention

The participation of the community is vital in the fight against teenage drug abuse. In addition, the media could also play a pivotal role in creating increased awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse by teenagers. Members of the community are also called upon to undertake community surveillance programs by operating with the law enforcement officers to ensure that they report any suspicious incidences or cases of people who could be implicated with the sale of drugs and alcohol to teenagers.

Moreover, community policing could also be very helpful as the larger community would also become more vigilant in watching over the neighborhood or possible burglary incidents that have also been associated with the use of drugs.

Justification

There is a need to intervene in helping to reduce the increased cases of drug and substance abuse among teenagers. Statistics indicate that in recent years, the use of illicit drugs among teenagers between the ages of 12 and 13 years almost doubled between 1996 and 1997. Although the incidences of drug use among this group were found to have reduced between 1997 and 1998, nonetheless that of the teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 years has been enjoying a double-digit increase year-on-year. It is therefore the responsibility of the families, the schools, and the community at large to engage in a concerted effort with a view to helping reduce these escalating rates of drug abuse among teenagers.

Why the interventions are expected to be successful

On the basis of the structure, content, and delivery of the aforementioned interventions, the expectation is that they will be successful. To start with, the family intervention strategy is a family program whose audience would be the high-risk teenagers for drug and alcohol abuse, along with their families, in a clinical setting. With regard to the content of this particular prevention program, the family would benefit from information on the symptoms of drug abuse, along with the parenting skills. These are vital in helping the parents to detect the use of drugs by teenagers by recognizing the symptoms. Accordingly, they are then in a position to conduct home drug-testing or even impose a curfew on the teenagers. Moreover, through this intervention program, the family could also benefit from family therapy services.

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With regard to the school-based intervention program, the students could benefit from information on drug effects and from skills development in-service skills. The method of application could involve norms change, while the services to be conducted include school assistance and counseling.

On the other hand, the structure of the community-based intervention program could have all the teenagers in the target neighborhood as the audience by using such communication tools as billboards. On the issue of the content of this particular prevention program, the teenagers in the community could benefit from vital information on drugs trends, and social skills development. The methods involved would include tolerance policies, while the services would include the establishment of drug-free zones. In terms of delivery, the implementation features include the consistent use of multimedia messages.

Evaluation

Family-based intervention

In the family setting- the evaluation process would often entail a determination of the ability by the parents as well as the siblings who have not yet started taking drugs to differentiate the various symptoms that could be manifested by the teenagers in the family who might be using drugs. A demonstration of increased awareness of the risk factors associated with the use of drugs at the family level would also be a good indication of a properly implemented program. The family members could also report cases of reduced association of the teenagers in the family likely to be involved in drug abuse.

School-based intervention

An evaluation of the school-based intervention program would often entail assessing whether the teachers have managed to master the interactive teaching strategies and contents that are necessary to facilitate the incorporation of the interventions program, into the school curriculum. Moreover, it would also be necessary to assess the extent to which the students have been exposed to the individual content areas of the school-based intervention program. Besides, there is also the need to determine the assessment component.

Community-based intervention

An evaluation of a community-based intervention program on the issue of drug abuse among teenagers could be quite challenging, especially when there are limited aces to program evaluation expertise (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2003), and limited resources as well. Nonetheless, it is still possible to determine the progress made by such programs using either qualitative or quantitative means. For example, the evaluation team may decide to undertake a survey to determine if the use was made of strict scientific standards in the determination of the program in question at its developmental stage.

Moreover, the evaluation team could also be interested in knowing if the programs implemented were able to match the needs of the community. Moreover, the evaluation teams could also be interested in knowing if the programs in question were being implemented in line with the laid down design procedure. Besides, it would also be in the interest of the evaluation team to find out the number of at-risk teenagers who have managed to get access to the program.

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Nursing practice

In my line of practice as a nurse, I am more involved in caring for teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 years. These individuals are at a critical age because they are often faced with increased peer pressure, and this results in a lot of teenagers getting themselves involved in drug abuse and the consumption of alcohol. My provision of services to this particular target group is usually individual-focused. In an attempt to reach this target group with the various intervention strategies to reduce the incidences of drug abuse and alcohol consumption, I am more involved in counseling sessions for teenagers who are involved in the habit of drug abuse.

Summary

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 years are at an increased risk of getting themselves involved in drug abuse and underage consumption of alcohol. Such behaviors have also been seen to lead to increased burglary cases in the community. Some of the strategies that could be adopted in an endeavor to contain this problem are three-folds. At the family level, interventions may involve educating and imparting skills to the parents and siblings on the symptoms of the various drugs likely to be abused by teenagers. In the school setting, the intervention could be in the form of a program that may be integrated into the mainstream curriculum. At the community level, this would involve the input of the members of the society in collaboration with the relevant authorities to stem out illegal trade of drugs. There is a need to undertake these forms of intervention because the issue of drug abuse among teenagers is rampant at home, in school, and the community. In addition, there is the need to undertake an evaluation of these intervention programs using either qualitative or quantitative indicators to determine if they have been effective.

Reference List

Lundy, S. K., & Janes, S. (2009). Community health nursing: caring for the public’s health. London: Jones & Bartlett learning.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2003). Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents. A research Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders. (Second edition). Web.

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