Fresh Start is a risk-reduction educational program for offenders of underage drinking. The program uses the curriculum, Prime for Life Under 21, from the Kentucky Prevention Research Institute. Prime for Life is a program designed to gently, but powerfully, challenge common beliefs and attitudes that directly contribute to high-risk alcohol and drug use. The content, process, and sequence of Prime for Life are carefully developed to achieve both prevention and intervention goals. The program goals are:
- to reduce problems caused by high-risk drinking or drug use;
- to reduce the risk for long-term health problems and short-term impairment problems;
- to help people successfully protect the things they value.
Participants learn who can experience alcohol or drug problems, how to estimate biological risk, how to know what low risk is, and which phase of use they are in. Based on persuasion-based teaching, instructors utilize a variety of teaching approaches, including interactive presentations and small group discussions. Participants use workbooks throughout the course to complete a number of individual and group activities. Material is presented using a DVD platform with animation, full-motion video clips, and audio clips to enhance the presentation.
Fresh Start is for 13-21 year olds who are cited with underage drinking offenses. When cited, the officer gives the youth a brochure that has a registration form. The youth has to complete the form and send it in with the program fee within 10 days of receiving their citation. The program is a 12-hour program usually broken into 4 weeks, one night a week for 3 hours. Classes are held in Lancaster and Platteville.
For a brochure and a registration form, click here.
In order to pass the program, the youth needs to attend all the classes, be on time, actively participate, and pass the tests with a 70% or better score. In addition, the youth can not re-offend before, during or within one year of passing the program or before turning 21, whichever occurs first. If youth are 16 and under, a parent and/or guardian need to attend the third night of class with their youth. If the youth passes, the underage drinking citation is voided and is not on their driving or court record. If they should not pass the program, then normal court proceedings are followed. If the youth should re-offend, then both citations will go to court and be processed as two underage drinking citations.
Since the start of the program, March 2002, 1,700 youth have received underage drinking citations. Of those, 1,060 have chosen to take the program and have successfully passed. Of those who have participated in the program, they have reported a change in their knowledge of risk and have made changes to their current drinking patterns.
The Prime for Life program can be used in schools, in communities as parent and youth programs, on college campuses, and can be used in court diversion program.
For further information about Prime for Life and Prevention Research Institute, go to http://www.askpri.org.
If interested in implementing a similar successful program in your area, contact us.