FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Fairfield Behavioral Health Services prevention department provides several curriculums to the students in Fairfield County Schools.
This fall Prevention Coordinator Veronica Edmonds and Prevention Specialist Kennedy Robertson made the classrooms come alive with their passion to educate students about the negative impact that alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD) can have on individuals through implementation of the Keepin It REAL program.
Keepin’ It REAL (Refuse, Explain, Avoid, Leave) is an evidence-based curriculum that teaches strategies for refusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs as well as important decision making and communication skills.
Schools that received the program include Kelly Miller Elementary School, Fairfield Magnet School of Math & Science, Geiger Elementary School and McCorey Liston Elementary School.
The students played games such as ATOD Taboo, SAY NO BINGO, and Jeopardy to re-emphasize what they learned. There were 216 students in the Keepin’ It REAL program this fall.
A pre/post survey was administered to measure students’ attitudes and perceptions toward alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Data has not been completed for students in classes from September to December 2012. The data from last school term showed that by the end of the 4th quarter 999 (154 percent) students successfully completed the evidence based curriculums: 679 (194 percent of goal) students in Keep It Real with 337 (49 percent) males and 342(51 percent) females.
Data analysis revealed that students’ perception of risk of harm while using alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs increased significantly by 20.9 percent from pre to post test, meaning that students understood they could risk harming themselves or others if they use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.
This was higher than the state percentage, which was 8.1 percent. Additionally, there was a 6.8 percent increase in decision-making skills from pre to post test, meaning that students learned how to make better decisions by participating in the Keepin’ It REAL program, which also was higher than the state percentage, at 1.8 percent.
Data analysis is provided by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE), commissioned by the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) which is the single state authority for substance abuse services that Fairfield Behavioral Health Services contracts with to provide services in Fairfield County.
Students in Fairfield County are not only participating in interactive prevention services but are also changing their attitudes and behaviors that will help them flourish and be productive citizens in this community.