PARS has introduced a youth prevention club with Topeka area high schools in partnership with the Topeka Rotary to develop youth leaders and educate them about the inherent risks of substance use (alcohol, drugs, tobacco/vaping, and prescription drugs). This education will empower youth to make informed decisions, decrease substance use, and help build a healthy community. In addition, this club will incorporate youth peer-to-peer prevention efforts to help reduce substance use, misuse, and abuse, as well as other behaviors linked to substance use, including violence, teen pregnancy, school dropouts, and suicide.
Over time, PARS will incorporate the youth club into other programs and initiatives to help reach a larger demographic and share their ideas.
The drug and alcohol substance abuse prevention program at PARS is designed to bring awareness to youth, families, and other community members in the Topeka area using a diverse set of strategies focused on awareness, education, and prevention. Evidence-based approaches have shown that by improving protective factors and limiting risk factors, the behaviors associated with addiction can be mitigated, and the potential for life-long, life-altering habits can be reduced.
We utilize the Kansas Communities that Care (KCTC) survey data to help guide our efforts. The survey is given annually to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th-grade students. It is based on more than 40 years of research identifying increases or decreases in risk and protective factors. Utilizing this data helps PARS to focus on the specific needs of a particular school district as reported by their students.
Our prevention education program with youth is taught primarily within school classrooms through a partnership with our local school districts. While our education is based on science, it’s also interactive and geared toward youth to be factual, relevant information that they can connect with.