Lock It Up Project The Lock It Up Project (LIUP) is a community-based substance abuse prevention project, designed to increase awareness of the risks and consequences associated with the illicit use of prescription painkillers by teens and young adults ages 12-20 in Fresno County. LIUP targets youth, young adults, parents, school districts, pharmacies, and medical & behavioral health professionals. Services include informational and educational presentations, in-service trainings for school and professional personnel, community-based outreach, Pharmacy Initiative, Trainthe-Trainer program, town hall meetings, and the development of media campaigns to raise awareness about the issue.
Prescription Drug Abuse Prescription drug abuse among young adults ages 18-25 in college is increasing rapidly. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about one in four college students have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. They believe that by taking prescription drugs, such as Adderall or Ritalin, they will be able to do better in school when studying for exams, finishing term papers, or enhancing their performance in sports. However, what is failed to be realized is that prescription drugs are just as addictive and dangerous as illicit street drugs (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010).
The Importance of Peer Education Peer to peer communication is a key factor for an individual when deciding whether or not to make a change in their life. People turn to other individuals who they feel they can trust in helping them make the right choices when they feel unsure of themselves. Peer education is based on the notion that life-changing decisions are not only made by what an individual knows, but also on the opinions and actions of their fellow peers. Believing that their peer is similar to them and understands the same concerns and pressures that they experience helps them have a trusting, open relationship with one another. Thus, peer education is used to initiate the individual to change their attitudes and behaviors because peers not only communicate and understand in a way that the best-intentioned adults cannot, but can also serve as positive role models for each other.
Peer Education Program The Peer Education Program is designed for college students to become peer educators and focus on the dangers of prescription drug abuse. The goal is for peer educators to raise awareness on the college campus and help other students who are dealing with substance abuse related issues. Specific objectives include: • • • •
Increasing knowledge about prescription drug abuse. Advocating for living a drug-free lifestyle. Promoting positive decisions to not partake in drug use. Encouraging students to become actively involved in raising awareness of the risks and consequences associated with prescription drug abuse.
The Peer Education Program is a semester-long commitment for students. Peer educators will be asked to sign a commitment contract which illustrates their understanding of their responsibilities as peer educators. A monthly stipend of $90 will be given to each peer educator for working a minimum of 10 hours per month, with the exception of a $50 stipend for working a minimum of 5 hours during the last month of the semester. Peer educators will be trained to hold their own community events (such as informational booths, classroom presentations, in-service trainings, and town hall meetings) or take on a project (such as creating flyers and public service announcements) to raise awareness on the issue. In addition, they will be held accountable for participating in some project related activities, as well as attending all of the trainings, meetings, development workshops, and the appreciation celebration. Please see the Peer Educators’ Activities Timeline for the breakdown of their responsibilities throughout the semester.