Drug Demand Reduction

Drug Demand Reduction (DDR) programs represent an array of approaches designed to reach several different demographics of youth. These youth range in age from elementary through college levels, with a focus on the middle school ages where the initial risk of exposure to illicit drugs is shown to be the greatest. The success of the DDR program has increased over the last few years by leveraging many different force-multiplying factors. The DDR Program uses creative budget management to increase its manpower during the month of October, providing the opportunity to reach considerably more school children during annually scheduled Red Ribbon Events. Drug Demand Reduction targets youth with three distinct programs consisting of Night Vision, Youth Leader and the nationwide National Guard initiative called Stay on Track.

Night Vision

Night Vision gives DDR the capability to proactively address the critical issue of substance abuse facing our youth today. This very successful program is taught in two ways. The first of these is through a National Guard representative instructing the various modules about the effects of drugs on the human body. The modules include Tobacco, Alcohol, Marijuana, Inhalants, Over the Counter Medicines, Cocaine, Ecstasy, Methamphetamine, Rohypnol, GHB, Binge Drinking, OxyContin, Ketamine, Steroids, and Prescription Drug abuse.

The second method allows youth to be trained as Night Vision Instructors, which enables them to engage the substance abuse problem personally among their peers and other younger students. This method transforms participating youth into role models within their school, and reinforces the benefits of making healthy and safe choices. The most powerful message to youth is that there are students among them that reject alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use as a part of their life.

Youth Leader

This program teaches Military Leadership to instill a proven set of values among 6th through 8th grade students, while creating an environment where youth can identify and relate to Soldiers. This program emphasizes Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. Along with Army Values, it stresses skills like teamwork, communication and problem solving. The curriculum combines lessons with group activities to reinforce teaching points. Youth Leader has become a very successful program and is currently being evaluated by National Guard Bureau consultants to become a national program.

In Fiscal Year 2011, the Florida National Guard Counterdrug Program reached 132,167 students through the Night Vision and Youth Leader curriculum

Stay on Track

The Stay on Track Program is an innovation in substance abuse education for middle school students in 6th – 8th grades. It combines prevention science principles and popular motor sports appeal in twelve 45 minute interactive lessons in either classroom, after-school or other youth settings.

The Florida Counterdrug Program has been teaching Stay on Track since it was piloted during the 2006-2007 school years. The Stay on Track Program incorporates a pre and post test that is evidence based and can identify changes in a student’s behavior and attitudes toward drug use. Modules for Stay on Track include Health Education (drug information), Decision-Making and Goal-Setting, Improving Communications Skills and Interpersonal Relations, and Media Influences.

In Fiscal Year 2011, the Florida National Guard Counterdrug Program reached 5,422 students through the “Stay on Track” curriculum.