Overthe decades, educating people about health has been an important strategy for preventingillness and injury.
Ensuring that children are healthy and able to learn is anessential part of an effective education system. As many studies show,education and health are inseparable. Gradually, educational approaches haveturned more to skill development and address all aspects of health, includingphysical, social, emotional, and mental well-being. Educating children andadolescents can instill positive health behaviours in the early years and preventrisk and premature death where adolescence has become the victim of varioushealth risk behaviour like drugs abuse, alcohol abuse suicide etc. Drug and substance abuse is a seriousproblem adversely affecting the social fabric of the country. Addiction todrugs not only affects the individual’s health but also disrupts their familiesand the whole society.
Regular consumption of various psychoactive substancesleads to drug dependence of the individual. Some drug compounds may lead toneuropsychiatric disorders and other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases,as well as accidents, suicides and violence. The highlycompetitive world of today and the absence of traditional norms and supporthave heightened the stress among adolescents resulting in multiple mentalhealth issues such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, rejection, diffidence,anger, confliction in interpersonal relationship and failure (Smith et al.2004), falling to the prey of Drug abuse, alcohol abuse andcriminal behaviour among the adolescents. Life skills based health education isvery significant in preventing these kinds of health risk behaviour. Variousagencies like UNICEF, WHO, the WorldBank and UNFPA have worked together to encourage more schools andcommunities across the globe to use skills-based health education, includinglife skills, as the method for improving health and education.
Together, theseagencies are dedicated to fostering effective school health programmes thatimplement skills-based health education along with school health policies, a healthyand supportive environment, and health services together in all schools.Over the past twenty years, “lifeskills” have become part of the vocabulary in health education and theprevention of health risk behaviour among adolescence. Life skills educationemerged from a growing concern about certain health problems with particularimpact on young people, including HIV/AIDS, sexual behavior, drugs, alcohol,peer influence, and youth suicide. However life skills education has beentaught with various underlying reasons such as, in Zimbabwe and Thailand theimpetus for initiating life skills education was the prevention of HIV/AIDS. InMexico, it was the prevention of adolescent pregnancy.
In the United Kingdom,an important life skills initiative was set up to contribute to child abuseprevention, and in the USA there are numerous life skills programmes for theprevention of substance abuse and violence. In South Africa and Colombia animportant stimulus for life skills education has been the desire to create acurriculum for education for life, called “Life Orientation” education in SouthAfrica and “Integral Education” in Colombia. In short life skills education canbe used in different aspects and in different situation whenever and whereverrequired. Conceptual Background:Life skills:Life skills have been defined as “theabilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to dealeffectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life” (WHO, 1993).
‘Adaptive’ means that a person isflexible in approach and is able to adjust in different circumstances. ‘Positive behavior’ implies that aperson is forward looking and even in difficult situations, can find a ray ofhope and opportunities to find solutions.According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)Life-Skills education refers to “a behaviour change or behaviour developmentapproach designed to address balance of three areas: knowledge, attitude andskills”. The UNICEF definition is basedon research evidence that suggests that shifts in risk behaviour are unlikelyif knowledge, attitudinal and skill based competencies are not addressed.Life skills are abilities for adaptiveand positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with thedemands and challenges of everyday life.
In particular, life skills are a groupof psychosocial competencies and interpersonal skills that help people makeinformed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively,communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others,and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner. There are many suchskills, but core life skills lay down by WHO include:1.Self-awareness 2.Empathy3.Critical thinking 4.Creative thinking5.
Decision making 6.Problem Solving7.Effective communication 8.
Interpersonal relationship9.Coping with stress 10.Coping with emotion Life-Skills Based Education (LSBE) has a long history ofsupporting child development and health promotion.
In 1986, the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotionrecognized Life-Skills in terms of making better health choices. The 1989 Convention on the Rights ofthe Child (CRC) linked Life Skills to education by stating thateducation should be directed towards the development of the child’s fullest potential. The 1990 Jomtien Declaration on ‘Education for All’ took this vision further andincluded Life-Skills among essential learning tools for survival, capacitydevelopment and quality of life. Ina meeting held in Senegal, Darkar 2000, the Darker Framework of Action (2000)referred life skills in goal 3 ensuring that the learning needs of all youngservices; policies and codes of conduct that enhance physical, psychosocial,and emotional health of teachers and learners; and education content andpractices that lead to the knowledge, attitudes, values and life skills. Studentsneed to develop and maintain self-esteem, good health, and personal safety. Thesupporting agencies, UNICEF, WHO, theWorld Bank and UNFPA, and their partners Focusing Resources on EffectiveSchool Health (FRESH) agreed that skills-based health education is an essentialcomponent of a cost-effective school health programme.
Life-Skills Based Education is now recognized as amethodology to address a variety of issues of child and youth developmentand thematic responses including as expressed in UNGASS on HIV/AIDS (2001),UNGASS on Children (2002), World Youth Report (2003), World Program of HumanRights Education (2004), UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development(2005), UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence Against Children (2006), 51Commission on the Status of Women (2007), and the World Development Report(2007). Drug AddictionDrug addiction,also called substance use disorder, is a dependence on a legal or illegal drugor medication, keeping in mind that alcohol and nicotine are legal substances,but are also considered drugs. AnAuthoritative definition of Drug Addiction is propounded by the World HealthOrganization: “Drug Addiction is a state of periodic and chronic intoxicationdetrimental to the individual and to a society, produced by the repeatedconsumption of a Drug (natural of Synthetic). Its characteristics include: 1) Anoverpowering desire or need (compulsion) to continue taking the drug and toobtain it by any means.2) Atendency to increase the Dose.
3) Apsychic (psychological) and sometimes a physical dependence on the affect ofthe drug.Present status of drugaddiction in AdolescenceAdolescence is the most critical phase of anindividual. It denotes the transitional stage from childhood to adulthoodmarked by conspicuous physical, cognitive, emotional and social changes.
Theinbuilt buffers existing in the society in the form of control and support fromthe near and dear ones guide the adolescents to grow into a mature adult.However, in the recent years, big changes have takenplace in our traditional society owing to industrialisation and globalisation.The highly competitive world of today and the absence of traditional norms andsupport have heightened the stress among adolescents resulting in multiplemental health issues such as depression, anxiety, loneliness, rejection,diffidence, anger, confliction in interpersonal relationship and failure (Smithet al. 2004).
Alcohol abuse and criminal behaviour among the adolescents tooare not uncommon. Drug abuse at any age can cause serioushealth effects, but teens who abuse drugs are at particular risk for negativeconsequences. Teens who abuse drugs are more likely to struggle with addictionlater in life and have permanent and irreversible brain damage.
Some othercommon negative effects of teen drug abuse are Behavioral problem, Emotionalproblem, Addiction and dependence, risky sex, Learning problem, Diseases, BrainDamage and accidents.Globally, it is estimated that in 2012,between 162 million and 324 million people, corresponding to between 3.5 percent and 7.0 per cent of the world population aged 15-64, had used an illicitdrug — mainly a substance belonging to the cannabis, opioid, cocaine oramphetamine-type stimulants group — at least once in the previous year. Theextent of problem drug use – by regular drug users and those with drug usedisorders or dependence – remains stable at between 16 million and 39 millionpeople. According to official data from the ministryof social justice and empowerment 2014, India has an estimated 3.
4 million drugabuse victims. This number excludes alcoholics, who figure at around 11 millionin the country. Drug use continues to exact a significant toll, withvaluable human lives and productive years of many persons being lost. Anestimated 183,000 (range: 95,000-226,000) drug-related deaths were reported in2012. That figure corresponds to a mortality rate of 40.0 (range: 20.
8-49.3)deaths per million among the population aged 15-64. In India, statistics revealthat at least 25,426 people committed suicide due to drug and addiction relatedproblems in the last 10 years across India. This comes down to an average 2,542suicides every year, 211 per month and 7 per day.
The effectsof drug abuse are wide ranging and affect people of all ages. Besidesaddiction, drug abuse is linked to a variety of health problems, includingHIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, and many more. It is also linked tohomelessness, crime, and violence. Thus, addiction is costly to bothindividuals and society. In addition to the well known risks associated withinjection drug use (i.e.
, transmission through needle and other equipmentsharing), are the risks stemming from drug or alcohol intoxication, which canalter a person’s judgment, and increase the probability of high-risk behaviors,such as unprotected sex. Substance abuse andaddiction have grave consequences on our existing social systems, effectingcrime rates, hospitalizations, child abuse, and child neglect, and are rapidlyconsuming limited public funds. The intravenous drug abuser represents thefastest growing vector of HIV virus. According to WHO (2014), Adolescence hasbeen more active and are involved in drugs addiction which is a serious problemand also a serious threat.
Educating adolescence is not only the mere solutionfor this kind of problems but their life skills should also be developed sothat these skills help not only in understanding the issues and challenges butalso taking healthy and responsible decisions in regards to drug addiction. Life Skills approach not only developsvarious skills in a child which is required in their day to day life but italso helps in addressing various kinds of health issues and plays a major rolein preventing of some key causes of child and adolescent death, disease anddisability. It also helps in socialization as well as preparing the child forchanging social circumstance. The life skills approach is an interactive, educationalmethodology that not only focuses on transmitting knowledge but also aims atshaping attitudes and developing interpersonal skills. The main goal of thelife skills approach is to enhance young people’s ability to takeresponsibility for making healthier choices, resisting negative pressures, andavoiding risk behaviors.
Studies in relation to life skills withdrugs, alcohol, smoking and substances abuse, revealed that increased knowledge about life skills paralleled anincrease in students’ distant attitudes toward drugs use. There iseffectiveness of life Skills Education Programme to enhance health behaviouramong school students. The findings of the study substantiates that Life SkillsEducation Programme (LSEP) was effective among adolescents for fostering theirhealth Behaviour and is an effective approach for prevention Drugs, Alcohol, smoking and Substance abuse(Botvin, Griffin et al.(2003), Hanewinkel and Abhauer (2004), Buhler, Schroder and Silbereisen (2008), Talpade et al.
(2008), Pasch. et al. (2009). Michael. et al.
(2010), Will and Sabo (2010), A, Mar?a, Tomas and Mar?a (2013). Favorable prevention outcomes may beinfluenced through building knowledge about general life skills.Imparting Life skillseducation In promoting and imparting life skills education , thevarious agencies which includes WHO, UNESCO etc has designed a numbers ofmodules which is based on the teaching of generic life skills and includes thepractice of skills in relation to major health and social problems.
The methodsused in the teaching of life skills builds upon what is known of how youngpeople learn from their own experiences and from the people around them, fromobserving how others behave and what consequences arise from behaviour. This isdescribe in the Social Learning Theory developed by Bandura (1977), whichstates that learning is considered to be an active acquisition, processing andstructuring of experiences.Thepsychological push factors such as the inability to tackle emotional pain, conflicts,frustrations and anxieties about the future are often the driving force forhigh risk behaviour such as alcoholism, drugs abuse etc. Life skills trainingis an efficacious tool for empowering the youth to act responsibly, takeinitiative and take control.
Life skills have been tied to specific healthchoices, such as choosing not to use drugs, eating a healthy diet, or makingsafer and informed choices about relationships. Different life skills areemphasised depending on the purpose and topic. For example, critical thinkingand decision-making skills are important for analysing and resisting peer andmedia influences to use drugs; interpersonal communication skills are needed tonegotiate alternatives to risky sexual behaviour.
Young people can also acquireskills which help them to cope with stress and emotion with which they are noteasily influence by drugs, leading them to addiction that affect their health. Teaching methods are youth-centered, gender-sensitive,interactive, and participatory. The most common teaching methods includeworking in groups, brainstorming, role-playing, storytelling, debating, andparticipating in discussions and audiovisual activities. There isevidence that life skills education can have an impact (Botvin, Baker, Dusenbury,Botvin, & Diaz, 1995; Botvin, Griffin, Diaz, & Ifill-Williams, 2001;International Center for Alcohol Policies, 2000; Smith et al., 2004; Swisher,Smith, & Vicary, 2004). Some general patterns, nevertheless, have emergedfrom the evaluations that have been undertaken in this field.
Certain “factorsof success” have been identified (World Health Organization, 1999, 2003). Theseinclude the need for:1) long-term programs;2) trained educators or providers;3) focuson both generic and specific skills; 4) developmentallyappropriate inputs; 5) activestudent involvement;6) links to other subjects;7) user-friendlymaterials; 8) peerleadership components.Where these factors have been implemented, lifeskills programs contributed to a decrease in alcohol misuse, drug abuse,smoking, delinquency, violence, and suicide and to an improvement in pro-socialbehavior (e.g., Botvin & Kantor, 2001; “LifeSkills Training,” n.
d.; Perry,1987). Other findings suggest a positive impact on mental health in relation toself-image, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and social and emotional adjustment anda decrease in social anxiety. School performance has been shown to improve withregard to behavior, academic achievement, and absenteeism (e.
g., InternationalCenter for Alcohol Policies, 2000). In general life skills development, therehave been reported signs of improvement in problem solving, communication, andcoping skills (Botvin & Kantor, 2001; Perry, 1987). It is these indicatorsand trends—often qualitative and anecdotal in nature—that indicate thepotential of this approach and its particular contribution to the issue ofalcohol use.Thebasic model proposed by WHO which shows the place of life skills as a linkbetween motivating factors of Knowledge, attitudes and Values, and positivehealth behaviour, taking responsible decision in preventing drugs abuse and inthis way contributing to the primary prevention of health problems Knowledge Attitude Values Positive Health Behaviour Prevention of Health Problems Behaviour Reinforce-ent or Change Life skills Education + + Life Skills-based health education isplaced in a variety of ways in the school curriculum.
Sometimes it is a coresubject within the broader curriculum. Sometimes it is placed in the context ofrelated health and social issues, within a carrier subject such as science. Orit may be offered as an extracurricular programme.
Regardless of its placement,teachers and school personnel from a wide range of subjects and activities needto be involved in life skills-based health education in order to reinforcelearning behaviour of adolescence in order to make healthy choices andpreventing drugs.ConclusionLife skills education is based on theassumption that when young people are able to rise above emotional impassesarising from daily conflicts, entangled relationships and peer pressure, theyare less likely to resort to anti social or high risk behaviours, thereforemaking healthy and responsible choices in respect of drugs abuse. Life skilleducation is a basic learning need for all young people. It will help the youngpeople to empower in challenging situations and helps the adolescents totranslate knowledge, attitude and their health behavior such as acquiring theability to reduce specific risk behavior and adopt healthy behavior thatimprove their lives in general.
Due to heightened stress, pressure, adolescenceis prone to health risk behaviour such as drugs addiction in order to avoidthis kind of situation. Life skills education can be a solution to thedifferent problems faced by the adolescence and help them to face it. Lifeskills education can help and adolescence in minimizing violent behavior;increasing the ability to plan ahead and choose effective solutions toproblems; improving self-image, self-awareness, social and emotionaladjustment; increasing acquisition of knowledge; gaining self control andsociability, conflict resolution with peers, impulse control and popularity andabove all preventing the use of drugs leading to health risk behaviour.