As students at high schools impacted by drug usage, we saw that typical prevention education wasn’t as effective as it could be. While most students were aware of the dangers of drugs, they chose to continue substance abuse regardless, specifically because they felt they had no other way to escape their current situation. While our current education system focuses heavily on awareness, we observed that it wasn’t as relatable to the fundamental issues students face, which often play a critical role in their decisions.
By the time students in our schools reached late middle school and high school, many had already been exposed to drugs. Historically, schools have waited until middle school to introduce drug education, despite evidence that this is too late. For example, according to Boston University, “Early prevention education is the only effective deterrence of substance use in high school students.” We were determined to push for an earlier drug education, which would work far more effectively.
As high school students immersed in the current education system, we realized we have a far better grasp of the fundamental problems leading to youth drug abuse in communities. With this unique perspective, we were incredibly excited at our potential to help gradually distill this problem. Thus, we founded CAPA as a method of executing our visions for an improved youth drug education system.
Our mission is to decrease youth substance abuse in communities by identifying the key underlying factors in a community leading to abuse, and subsequently combating these factors early through drug education at elementary schools.
We believe it is absolutely critical to provide an effective drug education at a young and malleable age.
As a team of high schoolers, we first scout a community’s high schools, where drug abuse is especially prevalent. Our members work to gather information on why and how these youth are sucked into the substance abuse culture. Using this information, we compile resources to locally aid communities. From local therapists to full-length curriculums, we work alongside elementary school administrators to design an effective and thought-out plan to address each community’s specific needs. Throughout the school year, we then work alongside elementary schools to gradually execute our plan. We aspire for our efforts to have a long-term impact on substance abuse as these young students proceed through their formative years.