Delaware Youth Drug Prevention Curriculum

At the end of the 149th General Assembly I authored a Resolution that passed unanimously in the House and Senate to create the Delaware Youth Drug Prevention Curriculum Task Force.

During the Joint Finance Committee hearings earlier that year there was mention of a drug prevention pilot program in the Delaware middle schools.

After hearing about the drug prevention curriculum, I started gathering information about what our state is doing to combat the drug addiction problem.

Known as the Botvin LifeSkills Training curriculum, the pilot was introduced a few years ago in four school districts: Red Clay, Capital, Seaford and Indian River.

The more I learned, the more I realized that the best way to fight the problem is through drug prevention programs.

I also learned from Tony Windsor in his role with the Boys & Girls Clubs that the Botvin LifeSkills Training curriculum has been a part of their programs for years.

“The Botvin curriculum is proving to be a wonderful and successful tool to use in tandem with our other prevention efforts to maximize our opportunities for success,” Windsor said.

“We recognize that the best course of action to address social, environmental and emotional stresses facing youth today is through prevention and providing opportunities to learn skills for making positive choices.”

Botvin LifeSkills Training program have found that participation in the program can reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by youth by as much as 80 percent.

According to a report on the economic benefit of evidence-based prevention programs, the Botvin LifeSkills Training program produced a $50 benefit for every $1 invested in terms of reduced corrections costs, welfare and social services burdens, drug and mental health treatment, and increased employment and tax revenue.

For example, according to 2015 data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, babies born exposed to drugs such as heroin and opiates cost an average of $66,700 for a 16-day hospital stay, compared with the average $3,500 bill for the birth of a healthy child.

In 2017, 431 babies were born in Del- aware exposed to drugs such as heroin and opiates. That alone likely cost taxpayers $27 million.

American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman Frederick Douglass said, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Helping our young people make informed lifestyle choices to stay away from drugs and alcohol abuse remains one of my top priorities.

On day one of my administration I will begin the process to see this curriculum is offered in all our schools.

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