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Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention Program Generates $16 Million in Potential Savings

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Nov. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania will benefit a potential $16 million return on investment for its implementation of the top-rated Botvin LifeSkills Training program, a drug abuse and violence prevention program. According to a report released by the Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University, the low cost and wide reach of this highly effective program yields a return on investment of more than $25 for each dollar invested. Researchers calculated the projected economic impact using data from a landmark assessment of costs and benefits performed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy and applying those figures to data on implementation of the LifeSkills Training program.

Over the past decade, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) has provided funding of more than $60 million to its communities to implement proven-effective programs under the state's Research-based Programs Initiative. The Prevention Research Center at Pennsylvania State University analyzed the results of this investment in its report entitled "The Economic Return on PCCD's Investment in Research-based Programs: A cost-benefit assessment of delinquency prevention in Pennsylvania." The Center found that investing in these programs represents a potential $317 million return to the state in terms of reduced corrections costs, welfare and social services burden, drug and mental health treatment, and increased employment and tax revenue.

Of the seven research-based programs funded by the PCCD, the Botvin LifeSkills Training program showed the highest per dollar return on investment.

An estimated 20,000 Pennsylvania middle school students currently receive the Botvin LifeSkills Training program at approximately 100 sites statewide. The LifeSkills Training curriculum aims to prevent substance abuse and violence by teaching middle school students about resisting peer pressure, decision-making skills, separating drug myths from facts, communication, healthy ways to reduce anxiety, goal-setting skills, and critical thinking skills regarding advertising and media messages. The lessons are distributed over a three-year period and last approximately 45 minutes each, and teachers receive a thorough training before implementing the curriculum.

"The LifeSkills Training program's goal is to help communities across the country create safe, drug-free communities for their youth," said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, developer of the program and an internationally known expert on drug abuse prevention and youth development. According to Dr. Botvin, "The LST program works by targeting the risk and protective factors associated with drug abuse and violence, and by providing youth with the skills needed to navigate their way through the challenges of adolescence."

Federal funding for drug abuse and violence prevention has declined dramatically over the past few years, and schools are finding it more and more difficult to fund prevention programs. "It is important for schools and communities to use their limited prevention resources wisely," Dr. Botvin pointed out. "That means not only using prevention programs that work. It also means choosing programs that have the potential to pay for themselves by producing cost savings over time -- something that's even more important during difficult economic times."

About Botvin LifeSkills Training

Botvin LifeSkills Training is a highly effective and well-respected evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program with more than 25 years of peer-reviewed research behind it. The program was developed by Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor of Public Health and Psychiatry at Cornell University's Weill Medical College and director of Cornell's Institute for Prevention Research. He is also president of National Health Promotion Associates, which promotes evidence-based prevention and provides teacher training and technical assistance. Dr. Botvin is the former president of the Society for Prevention Research and editor-in-chief of Prevention Science. LifeSkills Training has been cited for excellence by numerous organizations, including the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (part of the U.S. Department of Justice). Studies testing its effectiveness have found that the Botvin LifeSkills Training program can reduce the prevalence of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80 percent. Visit for more information.

SOURCE National Health Promotion Associates
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