Know the Truth: Evidence Based Prevention

Know the Truth is a substance abuse prevention program for teens in the Midlands - primarily Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska. Know the Truth utilizes evidence based principles broadly supported by a growing body of research, such as those prescribed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and NIDA. Our Program operates under two assumptions as held by the NIDA.

•  Substance abuse and addiction are complex issues, unpredictable by any one factor. Genes, environment, and age of first use are all likely contributors to the development of an addiction.
•  Prevention and early intervention work. Multiple studies have found that evidence based substance abuse prevention programs are both effective and cost effective.

The three stages of our program are: Risk Assessment & Planning, Presentation, and Evaluation.

Risk Assessment & Planning
1.    Know the Truth assesses the risk levels of a student population and the resources available to that group through a collaborative and reciprocal process. We stay up-to-date on trends in teenage substance abuse using resources such as local state student surveys. Prior to arriving at each school, we also seek input from educators about the specific substance abuse problems of their schools.
Following each presentation, we administer an anonymous survey that records student demographics, feedback about our presentation, and substance use and abuse data. We use this information to tailor our presentations to the needs of the students and schools on return visits. We also provide this information to educators to use in their own efforts to combat teen substance abuse. 

2.    Know the Truth combines personal stories of addiction, factual information about substance abuse, and life skills training into each presentation. Our presenters are culturally competent young adults who have demonstrated ability to learn and convey accurate information about substance abuse to a younger audience.

They are trained to use their own personal stories to teach information about substance abuse and life skills, such as healthy decision making and refusal techniques. By utilizing engaging presenters with personal experience, we are able to create and/or strengthen negative attitudes toward substance abuse. Our presenters are also active in the prevention community, regularly attending events, conferences, and training throughout the year.

Know the Truth partners with parents, educators, and other community members to decrease teenage substance abuse through a consistent and compatible prevention message. We actively seek feedback from the community and offer parent and teacher training to unify our efforts. Rather than attempting to teach a comprehensive prevention curriculum, Know the Truth seeks to complement educators’ own curricula with our unique perspective on teenage substance abuse. We establish lasting relationships with educators and become a permanent part of their curricula.

3.    Know the Truth is committed to evaluating the effectiveness of our program. In addition to regular surveys, we also administer long term surveys to students who have attended Know the Truth presentations. We have established goals, expected outcomes, and measurable indicators to be certain we are achieving our objectives. If we find that we are not, we will make the necessary adjustments to our programming. 

Although some of our objectives are inherently qualitative, we are constantly seeking new methods of quantifying the effect Know the Truth is having in the lives of students. We also welcome evaluation and recommendations from outside sources such as academic institutions and others in the prevention community.