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Preparing for the Drug Free Years


David Hawkins, Ph.D. & Richard Catalano, Ph.D.
Developmental Research & Programs
Contact: Channing Bete
200 State Road
South Deerfield, MA 01373
(877) 896-8532           Fax: (800) 499-6464

Parent Training Speciality
8-14 years Target
Exemplary I Rating

Preparing for the Drug Free Years (PDFY), a program for parents of children in grades 4 through 8, is designed to reduce adolescent drug use and behavior problems. PDFY's skill-based curriculum helps parents address risks that can contribute to drug abuse while strengthening family bonding by building protective factors. PDFY is grounded theoretically in the social development model which emphasizes that young people should experience opportunities for active involvement in family, school, and community, should develop skills for success, and should be given recognition and reinforcement for positive effort and improvement. PDFY focuses on strengthening family bonds and establishing clear standards for behavior, helping parents more appropriately manage their child’s behavior while encouraging their development. PDFY reaches parents before their children begin experimenting with drugs. Sessions focus on family relationships and communication, family management skills, and resolution of family conflict.

PDFY incorporates both behavioral skills training and communication-centered approaches to parent training. Two volunteer workshop leaders deliver the program in five two-hour sessions or ten one-hour sessions. It is recommended that at least one of the workshop leaders be a parent. The sessions are interactive and skill-based, with opportunities for parents to practice new skills and receive feedback from workshop leaders and their peers. Parents learn about the nature of the drug problem as well as how to 1) increase children's opportunities for meaningful involvement in the family, 2) teach behavioral, cognitive and social skills needed for meaningful involvement, 3) provide reinforcement and appropriate consequences for behavior, 4) use family meetings to enhance communication and strengthen family bonds, 5) establish a family position on drugs, 6) reinforce children's refusal skills, 7) express and manage anger constructively, 8) increase children's participation in the family, and 9) create a parent support network.

PDFY has been vigorously evaluated. It is included in the National Institute of Drug Abuse's (NIDA) Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide. It is also a showcase program in the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) "Parenting Is Prevention" initiative. Long-term results from evaluations of PDFY in Project Family in Iowa and in the Seattle Social Development Project showed significant reductions in children's antisocial behavior, improved academic skills, better bonding to pro-social others, and fewer incidents of drug use in school. Among parents assigned to the PDFY curriculum, intervention targeting parenting behaviors showed significant improvements for both mothers and fathers.


Implementation Costs:

PDFY workshops are designed to be led by two co-leaders who share responsibility for instruction, modeling skills and answering questions. The workshop leader should have completed the PDFY Workshop Leader's Training and needs a PDFY Workshop Kit. The workshop kit consists of 2 Workshop Leader's Guide, 2 Workshop Videos, and one copy of the Family Guide. The cost of the Workshop Kit is $695.00. The workshop leaders also need to supply the parents with their own Family Guides, which cost $24.95 each, with discounted pricing for large quantities. All of the above are provided by the Channing L. Bete Co., Inc. Incentives that may be required for parent participation are: childcare, transportation, scholarships (for workshop fees) and prizes. The Workshop Leader's Guide gives helpful suggestions on how to prepare for a successful workshop.

Training Costs:

The training for the Preparing for the Drug Free Years Program guides participants through the five session curriculum. Participants both experience and practice each session. Experiential portions reinforce program content and establish a model for program timing and flow. Practice portions supply training tips, practice delivering curriculum and address special considerations in adapting curriculum to fit community requirements. The program also equips participants with tools to plan, promote, and implement the program in their community. A fee of $4,500.00 provides training service for up to twelve participants and the following materials for each participant: Workshop Leader Guide, one Workshop Video, and Training Handouts. Travel expenses including airfare, hotel and per diem are charged in addition to the training fee. The sponsor is responsible for costs associated with site, luncheon, equipment rental, and promotion.


Revised 11/10/2002

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