HONESDALE - In a workshop series called Guiding Good Choices being offered to Wayne County residents, parents will learn how to strengthen bonds with their children and reduce the risk that their children will use drugs.
   The five-week program is being offered April 15, 22, 29, May 6, and May 8, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Wayne Highlands Middle School in Honesdale.
    Guiding Good Choices is an interactive program for all parents of children in grades 4-8 (generally ages 9-14). In a lively and open atmosphere, parents will learn specific strategies to help their children avoid drug use and other adolescent problem behaviors, and develop into healthy adults.   Parents will learn to set clear family guidelines on drugs, as well as learn and practice skills to strengthen family bonds, help their children develop healthy behaviors, and increase children’s involvement in the family.
   The Guiding Good Choices program, from Channing Bete Company, was developed by Dr. J. David Hawkins and Dr. Richard F. Catalano of the University of Washington. Their research has shown that when children are bonded to their parents, school and non-drug-using peers, they are less likely to get involved in drug use or other behavior problems. Studies of Guiding Good Choices have shown that the program is effective in strengthening parent-child bonds and preventing teenagers from starting to use alcohol and other drugs.
    An alarming number of teenagers today will use drugs before leaving high school. According to surveys conducted for the Monitoring the Future Study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2013, more than 39% of high school seniors surveyed had used alcohol in the past month, and more than 22% had used marijuana in the past month.
    Workshop activities are based on Hawkins’ and Catalano’s Social Development Strategy, a theory of human behavior that identifies the factors that promote social bonding and positive behavior. In a review of research conducted over the past 30 years, Hawkins and
Catalano have also identified twenty factors that increase the risk of teenage drug use, as well as delinquency, teen pregnancy, dropping out of school and violence.
    The program is being offered by the Wayne County Prevention Education Services of the Wayne Drug and Alcohol Commission and is free to parents of Wayne County students . Refreshments will be served.
    To support our efforts and the efforts of our community’s parents, The Great Wolf Lodge has graciously offered a one night stay for a family of four to one participant who participates in all program sessions in full.  The Wayne County Drug and Alcohol Commission reserves the right to cancel or reschedule this program at its discretion.
    To register, please email cemyers@co.wayne.pa.us or call 570-253-6022 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Registrations will be accepted through Friday, April 11.