Community Risk Factors: Availability of Drugs
Introduction to Community Risk Factors
Children form their opinions of human nature and the world based on their experiences and observations. For children the family is the most important institutional influence upon their socialization. (Allison and Lerner, 1993) The norms of the child’s domain are critical. Children growing up in a home where parents abuse drugs (Biederman, et al. 2001), in a school where non-drug use policies are not clearly communicated and firmly enforced (CSAP 2004:7), in a community where drug use is tolerated or encouraged (Hogan, et al 2004:43) are at higher risk of becoming involved in substance use. Parenting practices are key to reducing and preventing problem behaviors in youth. (Bigan and Cody 2004:131) An important part of the family and parenting picture is parent role modeling. Parents involved in community service, parents who vote, parents who participate in their child’s life -- do make a difference. Not only do they model what it means to be a parent and an adult, they also communicate norms of behavior through example. This modeling, together with parental monitoring of children’s behaviors and the establishment of high expectations, creates a powerful influence. (Perkins 2004:9) By confronting misperceptions about norms, the social norms approach to prevention strengthens cultures by correcting misunderstandings about the beliefs and values of its members. Several of CSAP’s six prevention strategies aim to change norms and/or to correct misperceptions about them.
Section 6 explores variables found to be associated with elevated risk for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems. This analysis of risk factors is based on the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP)’s list of archival indicators as described in “Building a Successful Prevention Program” published on the Western Center for the Application of Prevention Technology (CAPT) web site. CSAP outlines four major categories of risk indicators: community, family, school and individual/peer. A full listing of archival indicators can be found in the Appendix. The Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC) is aggressively pursuing the collection of data for all the archival indicators and offers here additional indicators beyond those suggested by CSAP. This section discusses those CSAP archival indicators for which Indiana data is available and adds several additional related indicators. This report presents data for the following archival indicators: