Prevention is Better than a Cure
As a child I remember, my aunt used to say regularly, “Prevention is better than a cure.” I recall watching her read up on health articles and apply the tips she learned in her daily routine. She stopped adding sugar to her tea, would exercise regularly, cut down on white carbohydrates, and gave up her beauty products for natural alternatives. She wanted to prevent any illnesses that she could. Prevention is important in many aspects of our society and lives, from brushing our teeth to wearing a seatbelt, we take measures in life to avoid facing challenges.
October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, a time to highlight the vital role of substance use prevention in both individual and community health. It was first declared National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in 2011. Through community-based efforts involving youth, parents, educators, and government officers, we can strengthen the support systems that deter our Nation’s young people from using drugs. Prevention matters because every year that substance use is delayed during the period of adolescent brain development, the risk of addiction and substance abuse decrease.
At Breaking Free the prevention staff work hard to achieve awareness in the community not only during the month of October, but all year round. Currently our prevention programs focus on the Aurora, Kaneland, and West Chicago communities.
Breaking Free’s prevention specialist works in the Kaneland community to raise awareness about substance use. Our staff is actively involved in the Snowball Youth Advisory Committee at Kaneland High School. Working together with the students that participate, the committee works to raise awareness about substance use and educate on what may cause someone to misuse a substance in the first place. Since substance use can be caused by stress, stress and stressors are discussed and healthy examples of how students can relieve stress are provided. In honor of Substance Abuse Prevention Month, the Snowball Youth Advisory Committee will be dedicating their bi-monthly meetings to educate youth on healthy activities that students could participate in instead of using drugs.
Breaking Free’s prevention staff also provide prevention programs and resources to the Aurora community. Within the West Aurora Middle Schools they implement the Too Good for Drugs Curriculum, designed to prevent drug use and violence. With this program staff enter health classrooms and educate students about substance use and how to prevent it, while teaching them the skills they need to make healthy decisions. Within the East Aurora Middle Schools, our prevention specialists provide a communication campaign called My Voice My Choice, designed to create awareness of the effects of alcohol use on youth. At West Aurora High School, staff assists the Above the Influence after school club to provide prevention education and resources to empower youth to share their messages with their peers.
In collaboration with District 33, Breaking Free provides the DREAM After-School Program at three elementary schools and one junior high in West Chicago. The program is designed to be an extension of the school day providing students with a safe and supportive environment after school in which they are receiving additional instruction and tools to reduce risk factors.
By working together with the community Breaking Free is able to implement these prevention efforts for the well being and safety of the public. Make sure you do your part by raising awareness this October about the dangers of substance use.
Prevention Specialist at Breaking Free