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Arizona kids get schooled about drug prevention with Gov. Ducey’s pilot program

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — An Arizona drug prevention program aimed toward seventh-grade students has led to 98 percent of students saying they can stay drug free during the school year, according to a recent news release.

Preliminary results from the Healthy Families – Healthy Youth pilot drug prevention program found that 98 percent of participating seventh-graders “felt confident that they could stay drug free during seventh grade.”

More than 95 percent of participating parents and guardians also said they had a “clear plan with their youth to avoid drugs and alcohol” during the school year, according to the release.

Healthy Families – Healthy Youth was a pilot program spearheaded by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family. The program was administered to seventh-graders in all 15 counties around the state.

As a part of the program, seventh-grade students and their parents participated in a drug education and prevention presentation during a back-to-school night.

Debbie Moak, director of the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family, said in the release that Arizona children begin experimenting with drug and alcohol use around 12-years-old.

“With nine out of ten addicts first drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes or using other illicit drugs before the age of 18, it is imperative that we scale effective prevention programs to reach all Arizona youth and their families,” Moak said in the release.

The program was administered by Arizona State University’s Southwestern Interdisciplinary Research Center and was funded through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration Prevention Block Grant.

Survey results were collected 90 days after the program was administered. The governor’s office did not make it clear what the next steps for the program were.

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