LifeSkills® Training: A Successful Model for Schools

Given that young people spend the majority of their time in school, it is essential to equip them with the skills and confidence they need to choose a healthy lifestyle and change the conversation about addiction.

One very effective school-based program, Botvin LifeSkills® Training (LST), raises awareness around the major social and psychological factors that lead students to substance use. Rather than harping on the dangers of addiction, LST promotes healthy alternatives by teaching students how to:

  • Resist peer pressure
  • Challenge common misconceptions about tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use
  • Examine their self-image and its effects on their own behavior
  • Weigh consequences before making decisions
  • Cope with anxiety
  • Use verbal and nonverbal assertiveness skills

LifeSkills® Training: The Promising Stats

LST is used in 10–12% of schools in the United States—including elementary, middle and high schools—and has proven effective across diverse communities. According to their Resource Fact Sheet, this program:

  • Cuts tobacco use by 87%1
  • Cuts alcohol use by 60%2
  • Cuts marijuana use by 75%3
  • Cuts polydrug use by 66%4
  • Cuts methamphetamine use by 68%5
  • Reduces pack-a-day smoking by 25%
  • Decreases use of inhalants, narcotics, and hallucinogens
  • Reduces violence
  • Reduces risky driving behavior
  • Demonstrates effects on HIV risk behavior

How to Implement LifeSkills® Training in Your School

LST offers several tools and resources on their website to help you get started:

Planning workbook: Understand effective prevention education strategies, conduct a needs assessment of your student population, and develop a plan for implementing LST.

Evaluation surveys: Determine participant’s knowledge and attitudes prior to and at the end of implementing the program.

Fidelity checklists: Assess whether you’re covering the right material and teaching it properly.

Curriculum alignment tools: Devise lesson plans per your state’s educational standards to meet the individual needs of your students.

Classroom assessments: Administer short quizzes to assess students’ comprehension.

Sources: (1) Journal of Behavioral Medicine (1983), (2) Journal of Studies on Alcohol (1984), (3) Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (1990), (4) Journal of the American Medical Association (1995), and (5) Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine (2006).