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May 28, 2015
LifeSkills Training Aimed at Reducing Drug Use Available to All Middle School Students
Approximately 4,800 Students Have already Received Training
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Middle School students will again have the opportunity to receive LifeSkills Training (LST). This program aims to substantially reduce drug use among adolescents by teaching prevention-related strategies, promoting anti-drug norms, teaching drug refusal skills, and fostering the development of personal self-management and general social skills. Lessons in the curriculum also focus on anger management and conflict resolution skills.
More than a dozen studies have shown that LST dramatically reduces tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use, reduces multidrug use, and also decreases use of inhalants, narcotics, and hallucinogens. Further, these studies have shown that the program works with a diverse range of adolescents, produces long-lasting results, and is effective when taught by teachers.
PCCD Chairman Josh Shapiro, along with other State Agencies, such as the Departments of Education, Drug and Alcohol Programs, Health, and Human Services, strongly encourages schools to register for this opportunity. “LST is an essential tool for schools that can help keep students drug and alcohol free and thereby improve their academic performance. The program teaches kids basic life skills, personal competence, and skills related to resisting social influences and peer pressure that promote substance use. And at no expense to our districts, this is a wonderful chance to help our youth,” said Chairman Shapiro.
The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has supported LST through funding and technical assistance for over a decade.  Most recently, approximately 4,800 students across 35 school districts participated in LST through a prior funding initiative offered by the Center of Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado.
The University of Colorado is again offering the opportunity for Pennsylvania schools to register for staff training on the LST model and receive copies of the curriculum for use in their classrooms at no cost.  Training will occur during the summer of 2016, with the program offered for three years beginning with the 2016/17 school year.
“With drug abuse and overdoses at historically unprecedented rates, using best practice school-based prevention programming, like LifeSkills Training, has become a life-and-death matter for our young people,” said Gary Tennis, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
Acting Secretary Pedro Rivera of the Department of Education added, “The more students engage in opportunities and strategies focused on preventing drug and alcohol use, the more successful Pennsylvania will be in combating their negative impacts on families and communities across the Commonwealth,” Rivera said. “Offering life skills training in our schools will have a lasting impact on the lives of students and the communities we serve.”
For more information about this initiative or to apply for this opportunity, please visit here. The deadline to register is October 31, 2015.
MEDIA CONTACT: Matthew Leonard, 717.265.8539
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