Groundbreaking substance abuse training offered to educators

Groundbreaking substance abuse training offered to educators In an effort to combat drug, alcohol and tobacco use by South Dakota youth, the state Departments of Education, Health and Human Services offer schools the opportunity to participate in the LifeSkills¨ Training program. Training workshops will take place this summer and fall.

"The LifeSkills¨ program has proven highly effective in combating substance abuse nationwide," said Kari Senger, comprehensive health education coordinator, Department of Education. "We want to make this program readily available to South Dakota schools because studies show that it works."

According to the 2003 South Dakota Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 15 percent of South Dakota students in grades 9-12 had used chewing tobacco or snuff during the past 30 days. Nationally, that percentage is 6.7. Thirty-eight percent of students reported having five or more drinks of alcohol in a row on one or more of the past 30 days. That compares to a national percentage of 28.3.

The LifeSkills¨ training workshops for teachers, school counselors, school nurses and prevention advocates begin this summer. Workshops will take place in Rapid City, July 26-27 and July 29-30, and Brookings, Oct. 6-7. The LifeSkills¨ Training program is designed for elementary and middle school students.

At the workshops, participants will learn to help students develop the skills necessary to resist social pressures to smoke, drink and use drugs. They'll also learn techniques for helping students to develop greater self-esteem.

and to cope with social anxiety. Workshops are approved for one credit.

The training is a partnership between the Coordinated School Health Program in the Departments of Education and Health, the Department of Health's Tobacco Control Program, and the Department of Human Services' Division of Alcohl and Drug Abuse. Regional sponsors include the Human Service Agency's Northeast Prevention Resource Center in Watertown, Volunteers of America's Southeastern Prevention Resource Center in Sioux Falls, and Youth & Family Service's Western Prevention Resource Center in Rapid City.

For more information, contact Kari Senger at the Department of Education,

(605) 773-6808. kari.senger @state.sd.us.

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