Why Drug Prevention Must Change

As a level two prevention specialist based in Colorado, I can firmly support national and international marijuana legalization. I can do this because I see a new opportunity for evolving the ‘drug prevention’ conversation.

We all have seen past prevention efforts. We either joke about them or we hate them. Nonetheless, they served not many people. It is time to use the lessons of our past attempts, along with the most current science, and change the way we think about, and do, drug prevention. Let’s usher in community building.

Think of community building as a tool-box of strategies and processes that can help build communities up. When we equip small community-based organizations with cost effective tools and their own assets, they can choose to build better communities.

Drug prevention has very little to do with drugs. Think of what today’s drug prevention programs, if they chose to be, could be. They could be community builders. And when they build communities, taking only pennies to the dollar compared to any ‘prevention effort’ ever coordinated by state or national government, more people will prosper.

In communities where marijuana sales and consumption by adults is legal, I have seen, and used, community building strategies and they work. Oftentimes they work better where marijuana is legal because more people are having honest conversations with each other and with youth. Those honest conversations, combined with the best science-based community building strategies, can improve the health and wealth of our youth.

And that may not have happened as fast had marijuana not been legalized anywhere. It’s not about the drug — its about life.

Get involved in building your community and more people will prosper. You can learn more about the progressive model to ‘drug prevention’ by visiting CommunityThrive.

Matthew Kuehlhorn, CPS II, is founder of Thrive. at Http://CommunityThrive.org. He supports marijuana legalization for the sake of improving drug prevention.

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