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Chief's Corner: Parents LEAD helpful resource

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opinion Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

If you are looking for answers to an existing problem or seeking tips on starting a conversation about prevention you now have a place to go.

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The North Dakota Department of Human Services provides Parents LEAD (Listen, Educate, Ask, Discuss), an evidence-based underage drinking prevention program targeting parents through statewide, web-based communication.

The program is designed to help parents: initiate and/or continue conversations with their children about underage drinking and other difficult subjects at any age; role-model positive and healthy behaviors; monitor their children’s whereabouts; and provide support and engagement.

A key component of the program is its interactive website, www.parentslead.org, which features both parent and professional portals; each offering tips, tools, and resources.

The Parents LEAD program began with the primary focus as underage drinking; however, recently work has shifted towards a shared risk and protective factor framework. Many of the same factors that influence an individual’s likelihood of initiating underage drinking are the same that lead to other behavioral health problems.

Existing research and data suggest there are a number of common or shared risk and protective factors throughout life that impact both substance abuse and mental health outcomes.

Applying a behavioral health lens to this prevention program helps us to see the connections between substance abuse and related problems and to take the necessary steps to address these problems in a comprehensive and collaborative way.

Parents LEAD maintains a mailing list where parents can sign up to receive monthly, age- or topic-specific emails (e.g., toddler, divorce) and has a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter.

Additionally, Parents LEAD engages in various outreach efforts such as presenting at professional development conferences (e.g., mental health, addiction provider, school counselor, etc.), local public events, and utilizes traditional mass media (e.g., commercials, PSAs, etc.).

Parents LEAD for Professionals is a component of Parents LEAD specifically targeting professionals working with parents and families. The website features printable handouts and resources.

Parents LEAD is a collaboration between the North Dakota Department of Human Services, North Dakota Department of Transportation, and North Dakota University System.

The NDDOT’s safety division exists to reduce motor vehicle crashes and associated injuries and fatalities.

The North Dakota University System Consortium for Substance Abuse Prevention provides University System campuses with resources, knowledge and networks to address student misuse of alcohol and other substances.

The consortium advocates for stronger prevention policies, collaborates in campus-community partnerships and helps campuses develop evidenced-based prevention programs. The consortium is made up of representatives from all 11 North Dakota University System campuses and representatives from the North Dakota Student Association, University of Mary and Jamestown College.

The North Dakota Department of Human Services Substance Abuse Prevention Systems mission is to provide effective, innovative, quality, and culturally appropriate substance abuse prevention infrastructure, strategies and resources to the individuals and communities of North Dakota.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service. Extension Service creates learning partnerships that help adults and youth enhance their lives and communities.

Reitan received this information from the Department of Human Services.

Reitan is the West Fargo Police Chief.

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