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Dissemination of an Efficacious Youth Prevention Program in Mexico

The need for more effective and sustainable prevention efforts in Mexico is increasingly urgent. Sharp increases in substance use rates among Mexican youth are a major concern, particularly along the US-Mexico border, where many are experiencing a disproportionate burden of violence, substance abuse, and pervasive poverty. Keepin ‘it REAL (kiR) is a school-based multicultural substance use prevention program for students between 12 and 14 years of age and is designed to help students assess the risks associated with substance abuse, improve their decision-making process and resistance strategies, improve anti-drug beliefs and regulatory attitudes, and reduce substance use. This narratives and performance-based curriculum are based on theories of communicative competence and on a culturally-based resilience model which incorporate practices and traditional ethnic values to protect against substance abuse.

This GCSO-funded project will adapt Keepin ‘it REAL to adolescents living along Mexico’s northern border region, starting in Tijuana. Keepin 'it REAL utilizes 12 weekly classroom lessons, 5 videos demonstrating drug resistance strategies, and school-wide booster activities. Through these efforts, collaborators aim to achieve a collective positive impact on adolescent substance use prevention in Mexico and build a suite of educators who are qualified and certified as kiR Master Trainers through a Training of Trainers (ToT) model to spread the program.

In one year of GCSO funding, this project will:

  • Implement Keepin ‘it REAL to adolescents in Tijuana
  • Train Keepin ‘it REAL Master Trainers
  • Evaluate and improve the program for adaptation to the broader northern border region

GCSO Participants:
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

  1. María Elena Medina Mora, Facultad de Psicología
  2. Germán Palafox, Facultad de Psicología

Arizona State University (ASU)

  1. Flavio Marsiglia, Global Center for Applied Health Research

Implementing Partners:

  • Fundación Nacional Ambar
  • Gobierno del Estado Libre y Soberano de Baja California
  • Instituto Nacional de Psiquiatría Ramón de la Fuente Muñiz
  • El Colegio de la Frontera Norte