Preventing Teen Substance Abuse

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Janet Welsh

While legislators and researchers work together to develop treatment options and solutions for the nationwide opioid crisis, community members, schools and caregivers have turned their focus to developing ways to protect future generations from substance abuse. To help build resilient families in Pennsylvania, Penn State researchers like Janet Welsh are taking prevention research out of the lab and into communities where it matters most.

As the coordinator for the PROSPER team in Pennsylvania, Welsh works with the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center and Penn State Extension to develop and deliver science-based prevention programs to Pennsylvania middle schoolers. Since starting research in 2001 with a sample of more than 11,000 children, PROSPER (PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) has seen significant improvements in family life and youth development, as well as reductions in teenage delinquency and substance abuse.

To read more about Welsh's work and the impact of the PROSPER program, visit

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