Brief Summaries - Substance Abuse Prevention Projects - Prairies
Table of Contents
When examining the pathways of young people, it has been established that early, persistent delinquent behaviour accompanied by substance abuse, is a strong predictor of adult criminal behaviour. When combined with increases in the rates of self-reported problem use of illegal substances and higher levels of acceptance of drug use among youth, concerns from a crime prevention perspective are warranted. (for more information, see http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/sclbsd-drgbs/index-eng.aspx)
As a result of these linkages, the NCPC supports projects that include addressing and preventing substance abuse.
The following brief project descriptions provide information on some of the projects funded by the NCPC in the Prairies between 2009-2014 that, to varying degrees, worked to prevent substance abuse as a risk factor for criminal behaviour.
These projects may help inspire those concerned about these issues and provide a way to explore approaches to prevention that will be a good fit in communities.
Organization: Centre for Race and Culture
Project Title: Bamboo Shield
Duration: October 1, 2009 – September 30, 2013
Bamboo Shield is modelled after Lions-Quest: Skills for Adolescence. Lions-Quest is a Canadian model that offers a comprehensive prevention program for at-risk youth. The program addresses multiple risk factors, including drug use, negative parent-child relationships, lack of cultural pride and low positive cultural identity, and exposure to high rates of crime and violence.
The project is implemented in three inner-city junior high schools in Edmonton, Alberta, and is offered to high-risk immigrant youth between 13 and 17 years of age. The project works with the same youth over a period of three years, beginning in grade 7. Youth are provided with alternatives for substance abuse and aggression through the support and engagement of teachers, police officers, elders, and mentors. The components of the project include classroom instruction, mentoring, conflict resolution, violence and substance abuse prevention, positive parental involvement, and cultural supports.
For more information on the Bamboo Shield program, visit: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/bmb-shld/index-eng.aspx
Centre for Race and Culture
#4, 10865 – 96 Street
Organization: West Region Child and Family Services Inc.
Project Title: Roots and Wings (RAW)
Duration: February 1, 2010 – April 30, 2013
To reduce substance abuse, drug-related crime and interpersonal violence exhibited by high-risk Aboriginal youth aged 12 to 15 years, Roots and Wings (RAW) administers a combination of the Botvin Life Skills Training along with the Bimaadiziwin training program. RAW operates in five West Region First Nation Communities in the city of Winnipeg: Ebb and Flow, Gambler, Keeseekoowenin, Skownan and Waywayseecappo First Nations.
The Botvin Life Skills Training program is a school-based prevention program that targets drug abuse among youth. It educates youth through knowledge and skill development designed to help them resist peer pressure, build a positive self-image, develop effective problem-solving skills, and nurture healthy relationships. The Bimaadiziwin training program is designed to address the specific needs of a high-risk Aboriginal population, including the impact of historical trauma on cultural identity and the facilitation of high-risk groups with trauma, alcohol and drug-related behaviours. The key activities of this project include training and workshops in the areas of drug-resistance skills, personal self-management skills, and general social skills.
West Region Child and Family Services
Organization: Strong Heart Teaching Lodge
Project Title: Seeing Oneself Initiative
Duration: January 1, 2010 – March 31, 2012
The Seeing Oneself Initiative delivered a school-based curriculum designed to prevent youth substance abuse in Aboriginal communities. The project aimed to enhance the health and well-being of at-risk Aboriginal youth, increase community safety, and reduce crimes associated with youth substance use/abuse. This project aimed to reach 360 high-risk youth, 13-17 years of age, who had existing or emerging substance-abuse issues. Key activities were coordinated in 4 schools located in neighbourhoods with multiple risk factors in various school divisions in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
To further meet the aim of the project, this initiative incorporated culturally-appropriate substance education programming within a bi-cultural competence approach to skills training. This approach was designed to equip young people with skills required to negotiate between mainstream culture and Aboriginal cultures. In addition, the project also offered conventional cognitive-behavioural skills development programming, which included culturally tailored content and activities.
Strong Heart Teaching Lodge
715 Main St.
Organization: Prince Albert Outreach Program Inc.
Project Title: Youth Alliance against Gang Violence (YAAGV)
Duration: August 15, 2007 – March 31, 2012
Youth Alliance against Gang Violence (YAAGV) was built on promising practices from the Warrior Spirit Walking program. Warrior Spirit Walking is a program that focuses on assisting gang members with exiting the gang lifestyle and becoming law-abiding citizens.
In implementing the Warrior Spirit Walking program, YAAGV used a youth engagement model to work with Aboriginal youth involved in gangs, youth living in gang-active families and neighbourhoods, and youth who were at high risk of recruitment, exploitation and victimization by gangs. Key partners in the project included Aboriginal agencies, health services, school boards, criminal justice services and employment development services. These partners helped provide specific programming for gang members who were parents, had drug abuse issues, or exhibited violent and destructive behaviours. The project focused on three main groups: youth aged 9-12 years old, youth of age for criminal charges with histories of criminal behaviour, and 14-19 year olds wanting to disengage from gang activity and at risk of violence from within their current gang or from other gangs. The project aimed to reach approximately 380 youth annually.
For a more detailed summary of this project, please visit:
Prince Albert Outreach Program Inc
1211 – 1st Ave West
Prince Albert, SK
Tel: 306-763-3552 or 953-4822
Organization: Paskwawaskihk Administration
Project Title: Capturing Our Youth: A Crime Prevention Initiative Project for the Youth of the Little Red River Reserve #106B
Duration: September 15, 2009 – December 31, 2012
The Capturing Our Youth project engaged approximately 120 First Nation youth, 8 to 16 years of age, to reduce their involvement in high-risk and criminal behaviour. The project was based on the Botvin Life Skills Training program with additional cultural and recreational components. The Botvin Life Skills Training program is a school-based prevention program that targets tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse among youth. It helps youth build the knowledge and skills they need to resist peer pressure, increase positive self-image, develop effective problem-solving skills, and maintain healthy relationships. The cultural and recreational components consist of activities such as sweat lodges, traditional dances, pipe ceremonies, sharing circles, rites of passage, unity rides, drumming, teepee building, and sacred teachings. These activities are designed to strengthen positive attitudes and pride in Cree culture and to facilitate the acquisition of pro-social skills through experiential learning.
This project was implemented on the Little Red River Reserve of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, which had seen an increase in alcohol and drug abuse, acts of vandalism, break and enters, theft, common assaults, property damage, bullying, and mischief among the 8 to 16 year old youth.
Little Red River Reserve #106B
Montreal Lake Cree Nation
Christopher Lake, SK
Organization: Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation
Project Title: Pelican Narrows Life Skills Training Project
Duration: December 1, 2009 – September 30, 2012
The Pelican Narrows Life Skills Training Program aimed at working with approximately 500 First Nation youth between 9-15 years of age, to reduce high-risk and criminal behaviour. The project was based on the Botvin Life Skills Training program. The Botvin Life Skills Training program is a school-based prevention program that targets tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse among youth. It helps youth build the knowledge and skills they need to resist peer pressure, increase their positive self-image, develop effective problem-solving skills, and maintain healthy relationships. In the Pelican Narrows project, the Botvin Life Skills Training program was supplemented by cultural and recreational components designed to ensure that the training was modified to be relevant to the needs of at-risk First Nation youth.
The project was implemented in Pelican Narrows, Saskatchewan, within the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation on the Opawikoscikan Reserve. Increases in drug and alcohol use and related mischief, vandalism, theft, and interpersonal violence among youth were a catalyst for starting the program.
Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation, Opawikoscikan Reserve
#201, 2300 – 10th Avenue West
P.O. Box 2320
Prince Albert, SK
Organization: Okanese First Nation #82
Project Title: Okanese Youth Lifeskills Project
Duration: June 1, 2010 – June 30, 2013
The Okanese Youth Lifeskills Project is targeting 50 First Nation youth, between 9-18 years of age, to reduce their engagement in high-risk behaviour and involvement, or potential involvement in criminal activities. This crime prevention project will use the Botvin Life Skills Training program, and will be supported by cultural activities. The Botvin Life Skills Training program is a school-based prevention program that targets tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse among youth. It educates youth through knowledge and skills development specifically designed to help youth resist peer pressure, build a positive self-image, develop effective problem solving skills, and build healthy relationships. The core life skills training components consist of drug-resistant skills, personal self-management skills and social skills development. Participants develop knowledge in self-image, self-improvement, myths and realities around the use of marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes. Program-learning fosters skills in decision-making, coping with anxiety and peer pressure, communication and social skills, and assertiveness techniques. Additional lessons will be used to address interpersonal violence and to reinforce messages on issues such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and other mental, emotional, and behavioural issues.
The Botvin Life Skills Training program utilized by this project is supplemented by a cultural component designed to ensure that it meets the needs of the at-risk First Nation youth. Adding the cultural component is critical for the project to successfully engage the youth. The cultural component will strengthen the protective factors of at-risk youth by fostering a sense of belonging and attachment to the community, and will ensure that issues are addressed in a holistic manner.
The project will take place on the Okanese First Nation #82 within the established 'After School homework and Extracurricular Program' and will address the increase in substance-related break and enters theft, and interpersonal violence among targeted youth.
Okanese First Nation #82
P.O. Box 759
- Date modified: