Yamhill County lies in the heart of the Willamette Valley, 25 miles west of Portland, Oregon. The valley is lush in farmland, forests, and rolling hills of grape crops. Within the peaceful community is an issue of drug use among the youth. According to the Oregon Healthy Teens Survey, conducted with the Oregon Department of Education, marijuana and alcohol use among teens for the 2012-2013 school years yielded higher averages in Yamhill County than the averages in the state (Oregon Healthy). At this time the Chehalem Valley Middle School, located in Newberg, Oregon has no formal anti-drug awareness program. Although other programs have failed, Newberg School District must implement an anti-drug campaign, which will expand on the “Above the Influence” campaign.
Drug prevention programs that have failed in the past include “Just Say No” and “D.A.R.E.,” and Newberg School District would be an excellent candidate for a pilot anti-drug curriculum. In the 1980s, the anti-drug campaign “Just Say No” proved ineffective because simply saying no without explanation of what drugs are and how they affect the body and mind was not enough to keep children from experimenting in drugs and alcohol. In addition, in the 1980s, was the Drug Abuse Resistance Education or “D.A.R.E.” program. This program also failed to prove effective, because it used fear and outdated information of the effects of drugs on the body. According to Don Des Jarlais, Ph.D., research conducted in 1994, the “D.A.R.E.” program failed to prevent teens from using drugs, and after cuts from government funding, many argue the program was not effective (2). One positive result in the program was that it did educate parents how to talk to children about drugs and the effects of drug use. Newberg School District is one of three school districts in the county and considered the median tier in population. This makes this district a great candidate for a trial run of a new prevention program.
According the Department of Education’s survey, almost three percent of 11th graders are using marijuana every day, compared to only less than the two percent average in the state (Oregon Healthy 54). The increased numbers are proof that the community is not doing enough to prevent drug use among teens. “Above the Influence” is showing progress at preventative measures to reduce marijuana use in middle schools, and Newberg Schools could expand the campaign to educate children about drug use. “Above the Influence” is an advertisement campaign that encourages teens to build on positive self-image and avoid the negative influences. The program targets teens through Public Service Announcements and through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The program gives the teen options to see the classifications of drugs, such as marijuana, methamphetamines, synthetics, and alcohol, and the harm drug use does to teens.
Building on the campaign, recognized through the nation, will allow students to correlate what they...