For more information contact: Boonshoft School of Medicine, Judi Engle, Office of Public Relations, (937) 775-2951

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 2003

Drug Free and Having Fun!

DAYTON, OHIO-PALS is acknowledging students and teachers who took part in the Dayton Public School's PALS (Prevention through Alternative Learning Styles) program this year by giving a luncheon and dance for the PALS participants on May 22 at 10:00 a.m. in the Dayton Convention Center.

Since 1994 PALS has delivered substance abuse prevention education to youth in the greater Miami Valley. PALS unique approach teaches adults working with children who have disabilities and/or differing learning styles to adapt existing anti-drug and anti-violence messages for those children. Through the PALS professional development program, teachers are afforded the use of multiple family, school, and community resources to assist in effectively teaching children about abuse and prevention issues.

PALS unique feature is its focus on delivery of prevention messages in formats that better meet the needs of students with various learning styles typically found within special education classrooms-a group often neglected by traditional prevention programming.

The past two years has shown that both teachers and students have benefited from their participation in PALS. Results show that teachers who participated enhanced their knowledge and comfort-level in providing prevention education in their classrooms, that PALS teachers provide more alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention education in their classrooms than they did previously, and that more students participating in the program noticed their teachers increased emphasis on prevention; and that students exhibited an increase in knowledge and intent regarding the use of selected substances in the future.

The award-winning program has been successful because of the commitment of key school district staff members in administering and supervising the implementation of PALS within their school classrooms, the willingness of the cadre of teachers to be trained to conduct drug prevention and violence activities, and parental consent for the participating students.

PALS has trained more than 2,500 educators and community prevention and treatment delivery professionals in Ohio and Michigan through the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS) and the Ohio Department of Education.

The luncheon event will include a local disk jockey who will provide music and entertainment for the day. Door prizes provided by local businesses will be given to participating students and teachers as part of the festivities. For more information about the luncheon event, contact JoAnn Ford, assistant director, SARDI, Department of Community Health, Wright State University School of Medicine, at 775-4184.