Help reduce kids’ risk factors

2014-04-23T09:00:00Z Help reduce kids’ risk factors Montana Standard
April 23, 2014 9:00 am

Butte CARES, a community coalition, has been working tirelessly for the last 33 years to help prevent/reduce underage alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by our youth.

The science of prevention is simple: reduce risk factors and increase protective factors. So what are some of these risk and protective factors?

According to the 2010 study Understanding Teen Drinking Culture in American, conducted at George Mason University, youth may have either a framework for positive alcohol decisions (high protective factors and low risk factors) or a framework for negative alcohol decisions (low protective factors and high risk factors).

Youth with a high protective factors and low risk factors for positive alcohol, tobacco and other drugs decisions possess the following: Strong core values, such as feeling connected to past and future and have a sense of purpose. They possess internal factors such as family bonds; feeling loved and listened to, feeling capable (confidence), and are aware of areas of concern.

They knows where to turn for assistance, feel supported, have balance in life, and have good coping skills to deal with anxiety, stress, high expectations. Their friends provide support, and encourage behavior change as needed. Additionally, the have in place external factors such as spending time together with family.

In healthy families, youth have open conversation with parents, have meals with families, and see parents as partners and guides. Some additional protective factors include having positive role models, and are able to reflect on self. They possess a good sense of personal boundaries, feels affirmation, possess clear and reasonable expectations, and have skills to interact with others.

Allowing youth to engage in activities and clubs is healthy. Providing and environment where youth have opportunities to learn by doing, experimenting, making mistakes, and are encouraged to stretch and extend beyond comfort zone is positive.

Youth with a low protective factors and high risk factors for negative alcohol, tobacco and other drugs decisions possess the following: They have core factors such as stress, feeling pressure, and discouragement. They are also disenfranchised (alienated), feel lonely, seek their own identity (trying to “find themselves”), are insecure, and have a feelings of hopelessness.

Additionally, they lack coping skills, are usually bored (nothing to do), and are not comfortable being alone. They also lack goals, look for ways to escape social limits, and have a strong desire to experience things themselves. Most are not able to reflect on their thoughts and experiences (very impulsive).

These youth will do most anything to fit in and to be older. They are rebellious and have unrealistic expectations of what their life should be like. Youth in this setting lack knowledge and information; lack meaningful conversation with parents and lack role models. They are easily drawn to the allure of TV, songs, ads. They have no substantive, consistent legal consequences.

These kids are constantly being exposed to conflicting messages (adults drink), educational dishonesty, inadequacy, mistrust, and peer acceptance of these antisocial behaviors and believes that they see as acceptable by society.

Finally, these youth receive encouragement from peers’ to engage in risky and unhealthy behaviors (drinking, smoking, etc.). They also have easy of access to parties, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Although parents are the most important individuals in kids’ lives and they are the gatekeepers for keeping kids safe, it takes the efforts of the all the caring adults in this great community to increase the protective factors and reduce the risk factors. Can you help? Check our website www.buttecares.org or call 406-560-2529.

Pat Prendergast is president of Butte Cares, 305 W. Mercury St., Butte

Copyright 2015 Montana Standard. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(13) Comments

  1. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 26, 2014 10:10 am
    You misspelled protests (the first 's' should be omitted). And the "grown-ups" you speak of have our country $17.5 trillion in debt. And I'm the one who lacks critical thinking skills? By all means, please keep posting. I haven't laughed this hard in quite some time.
  2. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 26, 2014 8:40 am
    Thanks for calling me a name when I point out that our country is $17.5 trillion in debt. The truth hurts, doesn't it Kello? I take it you work for local government as well? Or you are at least dependent on government "grants"? And for the record, I support our public teachers and local law enforcement. So if you and your cronies don't fall into one of those categories, you should be fired and the remaining budget should go to teachers and local law enforcement because they are the only ones making a difference in our community.
  3. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 26, 2014 8:32 am
    No, I'm not against kids. And your assumptions are absolutely ridiculous. What I am against are illiterates like yourself who have no comprehension of debt. I'm also against takers who are profiting on the taxpayers dime. Both Democrats and Republicans are notorious for this. Vote Libertarian.
    --
    "You never let a serious crisis go to waste."
    Rahm Emanuel
  4. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 26, 2014 8:27 am
    You misspelled excessive. You need an extra 's' in there. Again, our country is $17.5 trillion in debt thanks to illiterates like yourself and the people you support. The chickens are going to come home to roost sooner rather than later. That's all I'm trying to say.
  5. Mjkelldog
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    Mjkelldog - April 26, 2014 6:14 am
    Pat- great article about a very important and personal issue to me. Seaneen, I mostly stopped commenting here because you just can defend your position and argue with STUPID. You guys are great! M.J. Kello
  6. buttetonian
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    buttetonian - April 25, 2014 12:05 am
    So, you're against kids too? You are very cruel and NOT a good community member. It's me- me- me with you. So what on earth do you support other than no taxes? Have you no sense of community. Are the type that always votes again schools because you have no children?

    Do you get joy in attacking someone who actually contributes to society? Have you ever done anything for your community? You should be ashamed of yourself, but too clueless to know.
  7. buttetonian
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    buttetonian - April 24, 2014 8:42 pm
    Based on your previous posts and obvious lack of education, I don't think your hard earned money amounts for much. So just let grown-ups decide what should be funded. You lack critical thinking skills. Thou prostests too much.
  8. buttetonian
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    buttetonian - April 24, 2014 8:38 pm
    A penny is excesive to you .. you lout.
  9. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 24, 2014 5:54 pm
    Look, I commend you guys for what you're doing. It's just that $125,000 / year on the taxpayer's dime seems excessive to me. I can see that Pat works in Human Resources at CCCS, which also receives a lot of taxpayer money only to bring criminals into our town. I work in private enterprise and people like myself are the ones supplying the money to people like you. That said, you live in a much nicer home/neighborhood than I do and I think things are backwards in our Country right now. Again, I commend you for efforts, but I just wish people weren't so dependent on the government to make a living. $125,000 / year is excessive considering our government is $17.5 trillion in debt. Have a good day.
  10. seaneenp
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    seaneenp - April 23, 2014 8:40 pm
    My name is Seaneen Prendergast. Yes Pat is my husband. I am a former board member who worked directly with the youth. I don't hide behind a screen name. If you want to know what the money is used for, contact Pat and ask. The board doesn't hide any of that information. They work hand in hand with the ONDCP, SAMSHA and CADCA. I was the board member who trained with the ONDCP program Above the Influence and brought that program to the state of Montana. Butte was the first city in Montana to have the program. Again, before you criticize and condemn, find out the facts. It's pretty easy to do it. Our phone number is in the phone book or attend a mtg.
  11. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 23, 2014 6:30 pm
    If Butte CARES quits asking for federal grants and implements Darrell Berkheimer's FREE plan, I'd be happy to participate. And please make a note to yourself that through anonymity we see honesty. People tend to be more honest when they can remain anonymous. Just like you are doing with your screen name. I am not going to apologize that my honesty offended you. That said, I commend Pat for trying this, but why does he need $125K of taxpayer dollars to do so? Can you tell me exactly where MY money is going and why it isn't making a difference in our community? Maybe it's time for new thought leadership in this area. I think Darrell Berkheimer has outlined a solid plan. Is anybody listening?
  12. seaneenp
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    seaneenp - April 23, 2014 4:38 pm
    Just to clarify Restore the Republics comment. Pat is not paid but a volunteer for Butte Cares. He has volunteered with that organization since the 1990's. Butte Cares is always looking for adults and youth who want to help find solutions to all these problems. Most people don't step forward to help. Instead of criticizing what this group of volunteers is trying to do why don't you join the board? Do you know why this group was formed in 1984? Do you have any idea or knowledge of the programs they have in place or have started? Did you attend the Free Butte Care Conference last year? Did you go and hear any of the presentations like the one given by Karl Roston (yes, he gave a suicide prevention talk in Butte in February 2013 at that conference)? Would you like to know how many concerned citizens attended that talk? They have a conference every year. It's FREE! Have you ever gone? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to try to change the culture in this town? To try and convince the junior high and high school students that it is not a right of passage in Butte to drink. that just because their parents did it in high school doesn't mean it's okay for them to do it. This town has to figure out that the attitudes and acceptability of what our youth are doing has to change! So you know what, instead of trying to trash a group that has tried to make a difference in this town, why don't you quit hiding behind your screen name and step up and be a part of the group.
  13. Restore_the_Republic
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    Restore_the_Republic - April 23, 2014 9:25 am
    The Office of National Drug Control Policy recently awarded Butte CARES a $125,000 grant to continue their efforts. Butte CARES was one of the three Montana-based grant recipients and will receive $125,000 per year in DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.
    ---
    Based on what's happened this year in the Mining City, I believe Butte CARES is failing miserably. Although they might have good intentions (other than Prendergast collecting a paycheck/handout in the form of a taxpayer-supplied grant), I can't justify my tax dollars going towards it. I think Darrell Berkheimer has proposed a better solution which is FREE and is outlined here:

    http://mtstandard.com/news/local/a-proposal-to-reduce-suicide/article_b39de7a0-79b3-11e3-8452-0019bb2963f4.html

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