Mentor International Launches New Resource for Parents and Caregivers

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As part of our work to support the global drug prevention community by providing evidence-based materials and information, we’re excited to announce the launch of a free parenting resource. This guide aims to offer parents and caregivers easily accessible information about drug prevention in order to help them raise empowered, healthy and drug free children. We have taken a number of high quality resources produced by some of the leading prevention organisations to create this guide.

The guide is divided into three sections to provide parents with tips to raise happy and healthy kids in their home, the school and the community.

I. HOME: Helping you to help your children develop good behaviours and social skills to promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce the likelihood of them abusing substances. Focusing in particular on:

  • Building your child’s resilience
  • Establishing good communication
  • Monitoring your child’s behaviour
  • Healthy relationships
  • Knowing the facts on alcohol and other drugs

II. Helping you ensure your child is connected to SCHOOL

III. Helping you ensure your child is connected to your COMMUNITY

This new resource will soon be featured on the Effective Practice section of the Prevention Hub. We hope this resource will be beneficial to parents and others working with young people.

We’d love to hear from you! If you know of any new resources, research or materials that you think we should be aware of and/or should be included in this resource please contact us at info [at] preventionhub [dot] org

You can find more useful materials using our online International Resource Finder

NIDA Releases New Online Toolkit

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have released new online resources as part of the upcoming National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week. The National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week links students with scientists and other experts to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens get from the Internet, TV, movies, music, or from friends. Local school and community events that will provide teens with the scientific facts about alcohol and drugs will be hosted from January 25-31, 2016 across the US. The new resources provide information for those interested in hosting an event. The resources also provide information about a range of drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, new psychoactive substances, marijuana and prescription drugs. Each toolkit provides a small intro and the most important stats about specific drugs and features a list of federal and interactive resources.

If you want to host an event during the National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, you can register your event HERE!


Alcohol & Youth - New Resources for Parents

The Canadian Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines & Youth Working Group has released two new resources for parents to address the topic of alcohol and youth. The working group consists of 22 health units from across the province of Ontario. These resources were produced collaboratively to ensure consistent, evidence-based messaging for parents and key stakeholders to guide them in delaying the initiation of alcohol use among youth. The new resources include an infographic on talking to children about alcohol and helpful advice on using the following parenting strategies:

  • Parental Monitoring
  • Parent-Child Communication
  • Set Clear Expectations
  • Be a Positive Role Model
  • Be Engaged
  • Know the Law

Click on the links to download the resources:

Great Ideas for Teaching Alcohol Awareness

Are you a teacher? Are you looking for materials or information to teach alcohol awareness? Do your students know that a large glass of wine has roughly the same number of calories as a doughnut? Or that drinking alcohol over a long period of time may damage a person's self-control and ability to plan, think and make decisions? Or how about the fact that drinking affects our memory? The newspaper, 'The Guardian', has put together a great list of resources that covers the ins and outs of teaching alcohol awareness in schools. The list includes lesson plans, power point presentations, fact sheets, interactive websites and other useful teaching materials. Here's a summary of the resources:

Teaching the Basics:

Alcohol and the Brain:

Short & Long-term Effects of Drinking:

Alcohol & Peer Pressure

If you're looking for more resources, check out our International Resource Finder that features over 100 resources from the leading drug prevention organisations around the world.


New Prevention Resources for Parents

Parent Action on Drugs (PAD) has recently produced a colourful Fact Sheet in response to the five youth deaths at Canadian music festivals last year. PAD encourages parents to talk with their youth about safer partying and includes the following advice:

  • AVOID using any drugs when attending summer music festivals.
  • IF using drugs, go slowly. Overdoses are often a result of using too much.
  • IF using drugs, avoid mixing with alcohol and other drugs. Chemical reactions are unpredictable.
  • Drink 500mL of water each hour to prevent dehydration.
  • Take breaks from dancing every so often and cool off.

PAD develops and provides innovative, evidence-based programs, services and resources for youth, families, professionals and community members concerning issues that impact substance use and youth. PAD is an Ontario-wide organization whose programs and resources are used in communities across Canada. Peer Education Programs, Youth Engagement Programs and Resiliency-Building Programs are available for use by those who work with youth in different capacities. Parent resources include: Building Resilience in Youth, Parent Action Pack and An Early Start for parents of children up to age seven.

For a full range of programs, services and resources visit

By Zach Patterson - Prevention Hub Canada

New Drug Prevention Materials Are Out

This week saw the launch of new drug prevention materials based on the European Drug Prevention Quality Standards (EDPQS). The EDPQS provide the first European framework for high quality drug prevention. Organised in an eight-stage project cycle, the standards outline the necessary steps in planning, implementing and evaluating drug prevention activities.Their development involved a review of best practice and a consultation process with over 400 professionals around Europe. The standards cover all aspects of drug prevention work, including needs and resource assessment, programme planning, intervention design, resource management, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, dissemination, sustainability, stakeholder involvement, staff development and ethics.

The new materials include a range of toolkits targeted at different audiences such as:


Youth and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol can harm physical and mental development, particularly in adolescence and early adulthood, although certain patterns of use are riskier than others. The human brain is still developing throughout adolescence and early adulthood until about 24 years of age. Drinking alcohol while these changes are occurring can have negative effects on the brain’s development. In addition to this risk, puberty causes neurochemical and hormonal changes that make adolescents more likely to engage in risky behaviour and seek thrilling experiences.

Starting to drink at the time when strategy and planning skills are still underdeveloped and the desire for thrills is high can have harmful effects on a youth’s health and safety. Additionally, like adults, youth who regularly consume alcohol above certain limits increase their risk of developing chronic illnesses such as cancer, stroke, heart and liver disease. The National Alcohol Strategy Advisory Committee (NASAC) has created the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines (LRDGs) that are based on evidence-informed limits and were created to provide Canadians with recommendations for alcohol consumption that could limit their health and safety risks. For these reasons, the LRDGs recommend that youth delay drinking alcohol for as long as possible, at least until the legal drinking age. If youth do decide to drink, they should follow the Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines.

Competencies for the Prevention Workforce

What are some of the skills that make youth health promoters and substance abuse prevention workers effective?

After much consultation with the field across Canada, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) has released a unique set of Competencies for the Youth Substance Use Prevention Workforce. Competencies are a set of measurable skills, knowledge, attitudes and values that enhance the performance of practitioners, allowing them to better meet the needs of youth and be more successful at reaching organisational outcomes. With the overall goal of raising the quality and effectiveness of prevention efforts across Canada, CCSA set out to determine evidence-informed competencies that are required to effectively prevent substance abuse and related harms among youth. The result is the Competencies for the Youth Substance Use Prevention Workforce, a resource for both directors and managers designing job descriptions, interviews and performance assessment and for front-line prevention workers for self-assessment and professional development purposes.

So take a look at the complete set of 11 competencies and consider embedding them into your organisation’s work.

By Michael Stephens - Prevention Hub Canada

Strapped for Time? Assess the Best Available Evidence Quickly

There is just not enough time in a day! We've all been there.

Time is limited and information overload too common. Yet, we are expected to make evidence-informed decisions in our practice. In the world of substance abuse prevention and health promotion, we try to sift through all of the available evidence (from research, practice, and other sources) to inform our practice, programme and policy decisions – especially under a time crunch or when the evidence is limited. And not all of that information is of equal relevance or quality.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) developed a framework for rapidly assessing risk (e.g. of a new drug appearing on the streets or pattern of drug use), and critically determining the quality of evidence (e.g. the methods used to gather evidence) that can be applied in the substance abuse prevention context.

Rapid risk assessment is needed to evaluate the potential risk or concern to public health, and should be based on the best available evidence to determine:

  • If a response is needed

  • The urgency and magnitude of response

  • The design and selection of intervention

  • The broader management of the incident or situation at hand

New Report: Preventing Drug and Alcohol-related Harms at Music Festivals in Canada

A new report calls for increased collaboration and offers recommendations to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug-related harms at Canadian music festivals.

In the summer of 2014, at least five young adults died while attending Canadian music festivals. Many more were treated onsite or admitted to hospital. Alcohol or drug use or both was strongly suspected as a contributing factor in these deaths and illnesses. The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA) in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s Mass Gathering Medicine Interest Group (UBC MGM) hosted a multi-sectoral group of stakeholders to discuss what is known about drug and alcohol-related harms at such festivals and what can be done to prevent and reduce related harms.

Recommendations stemming from the meeting include:

• Engaging early and often with community stakeholders before, during and after the event
• Improving real-time monitoring and the rapid exchange of information regarding known drug risks, suspected drug incidences and other health concerns
• Providing safe physical spaces separate from the main crowd with trained support staff
• Developing an optimal medical response for music festivals, including capacity development of medical professionals to work in such environments
• Developing a national framework or common approach that can be adapted, based on needs and capacity, to enhance and standardize security practices across events and jurisdictions


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