National Academies of Sciences Meeting Highlights Need for Effective Cannabis Prevention Programs

WASHINGTON - Jan. 31, 2024 - PRLog -- The National Academies of Sciences convened a meeting of leading scientists and community leaders to discuss the implications of changes in cannabis policy. In view of the health risks posed by cannabis combined with increased availability due to the decriminalization and legalization of cannabis, effective prevention programs are urgently needed for adolescents and other vulnerable populations.

During this two-day meeting, research scientists, policymakers, and representatives from a wide swath of U.S. communities came together to discuss the implications of the changing cannabis policy landscape. Dr. Christopher Williams, senior vice president at National Health Promotion Associates (NHPA) and adjunct associate professor of psychology at Purchase College, was an invited panelist who discussed effective prevention and harm reduction strategies.

In his remarks, Dr. Williams indicated that although traditional harm reduction strategies may be appropriate for some, vulnerable populations of children, adolescents, and young adults must have access to prevention programs that promote positive youth development and have been rigorously tested and proven effective.

Dr. Williams stressed the urgent need for primary prevention approaches and emphasized that the most effective prevention programs teach decision-making and other adaptive coping skills, social skills, and drug resistance skills as well as pro-health attitudes and norms. One of the most effective prevention programs is Life Skills Training, an extensively tested prevention program proven to prevent cannabis use as well as other forms of substance use.

"The science is clear about what works in preventing substance use among children and adolescents," said Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, professor emeritus at Cornell University's Weill Medical College and developer of the LST program. "As a field we should focus our efforts on meeting the needs of schools, families and communities by disseminating universal primary prevention programs to youth to avoid the harms associated with substance use."

About Botvin LifeSkills Training
Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) is an evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program. LST has been extensively tested and proven to reduce tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much as 80%. Long-terms follow-up studies show that it produces prevention effects that are durable and long-lasting. Visit for more information.

Katie Blickenstaff
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