America knows that the current strategies for reducing drug abuse have failed or at the very least, are not enough. The big question is what new strategies can be incorporated that will work? New York Times best-selling author David Sheff of Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy was published in April 2013 and is quickly gaining attention. Sheff has some ideas that some are thinking just may work.

A huge emphasis must be placed on prevention. Sheff features one approach in his book called the Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program. This has been tested extensively and found effective in more than 30 scientific studies to be a powerful tool for preventing addiction. Sheff said, “I spent years searching for effective programs that would lower drug use and prevent addiction. Numerous scientific studies prove that LifeSkills Training has shown remarkable results. Rather than focusing on the drugs themselves, LST lowers drug use by helping kids become healthier and more resilient.”

Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Medical College, developer of the LifeSkills Training program, and an internationally recognized authority on prevention says, “David Sheff’s book comes at an opportune time in our nation’s history in fighting addiction and other health risks. More and more studies are demonstrating the effectiveness and benefits of novel approaches to prevention that are based on sound science. The complexity of addiction has become increasingly clear over the years; that complexity requires solutions that transcend the rather simplistic approaches that have been, and unfortunately are still being, used throughout the world. I am not only pleased that David has featured LST in Clean but, more importantly, that he has written such a compelling book challenging the orthodoxy regarding the nature of addiction and how to combat it.”

David Sheff has first-hand experience dealing with addiction with his own son David. The story is one that is heartbreaking and it is featured in Sheff’s previous book, a memoir, titled Beautiful Boy, where he walks his audience through his   journey through his son Nic’s addiction to drugs and faltering steps toward recovery.

LifeSkills Training (LST) is a well-researched, school-based substance abuse and violence prevention program, geared to upper elementary (beginning in grade 3) and junior high/middle school students. The program helps children understand the consequences of substance abuse while building their self-esteem and confidence. It also helps them overcome social anxiety, and gives them the skills to resist peer pressure, and avoid high risk behavior.

The evaluation results of the LifeSkills Training have spoken volumes thus far. Over a dozen studies in scientific journals have demonstrated that when LifeSkills is delivered to middle/junior high students it cuts tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use 50%–75%, cuts polydrug use up to 66%, reduces smoking by 25%, and also decreases the use of inhalants, narcotics and hallucinogens.


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