What are the advantages of the APT program over existing addiction prevention programs?
The APT program compensates for shortcomings in existing addiction prevention programs for Canadian youth: in this country, there is a scarcity of evidence-based programs, and such programs are the primary condition for achieving effective prevention. Evidence-based prevention relies on programs, strategies and policies that have benefited from prior testing compliant with rigorous research standards, and have proven capacity for delaying the onset of, or reducing, substance use among adolescents.
Besides the fact that it is evidence-based, the APT program is innovative and stands out from other addiction prevention programs aimed at youth because it uses young people's beliefs as its starting point, and conveys a set of harmonized messages.
Lastly, the program was tested in Quebec and New Brunswick and the results prove its effectiveness in preventing substance abuse among youth aged 12 to 18.
Is APT an evaluated program?
Yes. Three years of research went into development of the APT program. It was tested and evaluated with groups of 800 young participants in Quebec and New Brunswick, in both school and sports settings.
What was the overall satisfaction level of participants during the experimental implementation phase of the APT program?
After they participated in the APT program activities, young people in the test groups were asked to answer a questionnaire evaluating the program based on their experience. The results revealed that the activities were, by and large, appreciated by the sample of young people who took part in our research.
Between 80% and 90% of the young people who took part in the test phase said they "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that:
- the content of the activities was clear and precise;
- the messages conveyed by facilitators were relevant and sufficient;
- the time allotted to the activities was sufficient;
- the activities were age-appropriate.
In conclusion, participants said they felt better prepared to deal the choices involved in substance use, and recommended that other young people their age use the program.
How long do the individual program activities last, and what size groups are they designed for?
Each program activity is designed to last either 60 or 75 minutes; they are designed to be flexible so that you can adapt them according to the time you have available, the number of young people in your group and the activity topic.
They are designed for groups of 30 young people, but can of course be used with smaller groups.
What is the maximum length of time I should take to go through all five activities, and how long should I wait between activities?
Ideally, to achieve best possible prevention outcomes with participants, facilitators should teach all five program activities, and allow between one and three months to elapse before facilitating the next activity, so that participants have enough time to properly assimilate all the information they have learned. This way, the five activities can be spread over a full school year, for example.
If there are constraints preventing the application of the full APT program, we recommend that you complete at least three of the activities-ideally, the first three, because they cover the most important spheres of influences on young people: friends, family and life setting.
Can the APT program be used with groups of young people who show problematic use of psychoactive substances or who require specific treatment to address an existing substance use problem?
No. The APT program is an addiction prevention program, not an intervention program: in other words, its primary goal is to reduce the risks of participants developing problems related to abusive consumption of psychoactive substances. It has demonstrated effectiveness among young people who do not require any specialized addiction treatment (chronic abuse, dependency). Those who do fall into that category require assistance adapted to their needs.
How is it that the APT program can be adaptable to participants as young as 12 as well as to 18-year-olds?
To meet the specific needs and characteristics of different groups of participants, the APT program provides for two distinct substance use profiles: A and B. Consequently, before facilitating the APT program activities, facilitators must define the general profile (A or B) of the groups they will we working with.
Young people who do not use substances or have only experimented with or made occasional use of them (generally, participants aged 12 to 15) correspond to Profile A, while those who are regular or abusive users (generally, those aged 16 to 18) correspond to Profile B. This flexibility is undeniably one of the assets of the APT program.
I work with a group who are aged 18 and 19. Can I use the APT program with this group, even though it is primarily designed for youth aged 12 to 18?
No. Our evaluation of the program's implementation and effectiveness has shown that it is effective with young people aged 12 to 17, while it has only minimal impact on the other age groups evaluated (ages 9 to 11 and ages 18 to 24). The program includes 18-year-olds in its age group so that it can be used in the Canadian secondary-school and high-school system.
How much preparation time should I expect to put in order to be able to facilitate the APT program activities?
The time required to complete the training may vary from one facilitator to another, since it is intended for a wide range of facilitators with varying degrees of experience. For example, a facilitator experienced in addiction prevention should take about ten hours to complete the training. Facilitators with very little or no experience at all in this area may need to spend up to twenty hours on the training.
Can I purchase the APT program without the e-Learning component?
No. The APT program is indissociable from the e-Learning. We believe the training is essential for ensuring that the program is applied consistently by all facilitators and generates the hoped-for outcomes among participants. In addition, the various training tools, training plan, website, e-Learning, Facilitator's Guide and suggested readings are complementary.
Isn't the APT program training aimed mainly at facilitators with little or no experience in addiction prevention and leading group discussions? For example, I have 15 years experience in addition prevention, so do I still need to take the training?
The program is designed so that even people who lack specific knowledge in addiction prevention can administer it once they have completed the training, but it is also suitable in the case of facilitators who have prior experience in and knowledge of substance abuse issues.
The training program is not geared solely toward addiction prevention. The training is designed to enable facilitators to become familiar with and understand the scientific aspects of the program as well as how the activities are structured, and to become proficient with the arguments needed to correct participants erroneous beliefs and reinforce their protective beliefs.
Therefore, even if you have several years experience in the field of addiction prevention, it is crucial that you complete the training that accompanies the APT program.