Prevention Dimensions (PD) is a set of Utah's Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities resource lessons which support the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12 Health Core. The program began in 1982 as a joint effort between the Utah Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health (DSAMH), Utah Department of Health, USBE and Utah PTA and has been revised several times since.
The mission of PD is to give students a strong foundation of effective violence and substance abuse prevention skills. The resource lessons are age-appropriate and meet the objectives through a scope and sequence methodology. The lessons are based on the risk and protective factors prevention model identified through research by Drs. David Hawkins and Richard Catalano of the University of Washington. Studies have shown that young people with these identified risk factors are more likely to engage in substance abuse and other antisocial behaviors. Conversely, students with strong protective factors are less likely to engage in substance abuse and antisocial behaviors. Lessons are therefore, designed to decrease the risk factors and promote protective factors. PD teacher training develop teacher skills to teach proven prevention strategies, impart knowledge, and help maintain positive prevention attitude.
Statewide surveys conducted by the Utah Division of Substance Abuse indicate the positive outcomes of the PD skill objectives. The PD Steering Committee uses these surveys to identify effectiveness of strategies utilized in the PD lessons and periodically revises lessons to meet current trends. Prevention Dimensions revisions include the 1990 alignment of lessons to better assist teachers in integration of prevention as part of the school day; 1994 inclusion of necessary prevention components based on Botvin's life skill research and sophistication of secondary lessons; 1996 music component enhancement project; 1996 inclusion of Search Institutes 40 Developmental Assets; 1999 inclusion of media literacy lessons; 2000-2001 State Health Department inclusion of research-based tobacco lessons; 2002 revision of lesson content; and 2003 formatting and redesign of lesson appearance.
The continual submission of teacher evaluation data will assist PD in moving to a "best practices" program.
Young people can overcome the many risk factors in society when they see positive examples hear clear and consistent messages, and practice healthy living. Prevention Dimension has become a powerful tool for teacher to increase protective factors in students' lives.
Thank you for your effort in building a healthy youth! Prevention works!