Over the past several months, I have met or spoke with many dedicated individuals and groups who are working to prevent illegal and harmful alcohol and drug use among young people.

None of these groups is more impressive or committed than the American Council for Drug Education, which is operated, along with the Children of Alcoholics Foundation, out of Phoenix House in New York City.

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the Council’s leadership team and to learn about Transitions, an ambitious new drug and alcohol prevention program targeted to college-bound high school juniors and seniors. After an extensive briefing on this program, I was pleased and honored to be asked by the Council to serve on the Transitions Advisory Board, which includes many experts in the health field, as well as those who have the potential, through their organizations, to touch the lives of young people at this critical juncture in their lives.

I am not a health or scientific expert, to be sure, so I consider my involvement in the Transitions Advisory Board to be because of all of you, the parents who are so critical to the success of Transitions, or any drug and alcohol-prevention program.

While the final Transitions program is still under discussion, and could be amended after some pilot testing to be done this fall, one of the certain underpinnings of the program is the importance of parent involvement, both in connecting and communicating generally with young people, and in challenging specifically a number of alcohol-related myths.

Other elements of Transitions are expected to include student curricula to be developed and offered to school districts and to independent schools; a counselor handbook, which will offer advice on the realities of college drinking, present strategies on the transition to college for students and suggest to parents the best ways to get involved; a Web site providing information and interactive components to help students navigate their first year of college; and a list serv for school counselors, school nurses, other professionals, students and, of course, parents who are on the front lines of issues faced by high school juniors and seniors as they prepare for their first year of college.

The Council also plans to develop what they are calling a set of “mini-magazines,” a series of publications that will deal the issues of alcohol and drugs as they relate to the first-year college student experience.

Throughout the summer and fall, I and other members of the Transitions advisory board will be reviewing materials and providing input on ideas created by the talented Council team. We will also be helping to build local and national partnerships with policy makers, prevention organizations, health educators and others who have an interest and desire to address this important topic in a meaningful way.

If you have any questions or would like more information about Transitions, please contact us at info@collegeparents.org, or call us at 888-761-6702.

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