Stephanie Haines, Senior Prevention Specialist at FCD Educational Services.
Most students are healthy! Yet, though many students do not use alcohol or other drugs, research shows their attitudes about substance use become increasingly unhealthy as they get older.
How do these attitudes form? The social norms theory states that students form attitudes about substance use based on peer norms they think exist. When students do this, they naturally overestimate – and start to emulate – the riskiest behaviors practiced by peers.
The social norms approach to prevention helps students correct overestimations of unhealthy peer substance use. When students know their peers are making healthy decisions, they are more likely to select these healthy behaviors themselves. FCD is using this approach in international schools to prevent student substance abuse.
Any faculty member can also use this evidence-based approach. In the presentation, FCD will guide faculty through the social norms approach and offer simple strategies teachers can use to keep healthy students healthy.