Frequently Asked Questions

What is this study and why is it important?

  • This study tests the updated Project ALERT and whether it is even more effective if educators receive implementation training and support. The findings may impact school drug prevention program implementation nationwide.
  • Research shows that adolescence is when people are most likely to begin using and abusing drugs.
  • Schools have limited time and money. They need a program that is both affordable and proven effective to prevent substance abuse and the behavioral and academic problems that are correlated with abuse.
  • Research also shows that organizations get better results from new programs when they have implementation support.

What is Project ALERT?

  • Project ALERT is an evidence-based prevention program for middle school students that addresses cigarettes, vaping, marijuana, and alcohol, and includes a new lesson on opioids.
  • Project ALERT is a skills-based curriculum. Not only does it help youth understand how drugs affect the body, it cultivates non-use attitudes and beliefs, and teaches youths to identify drug use pressures and builds their confidence in resisting those pressures.
  • Project ALERT includes 11 lessons for 7th grade students and 3 lessons for 8th grade students.
  • Teacher training, materials, and support are provided for free on-line and the curriculum can be delivered by any certified teacher.
  • Project ALERT is popular with teachers and students and is estimated to reach 21,000 middle school students each year.

What is Getting To Outcomes® (GTO)?

Getting To Outcomes® (GTO) is an evidence-based implementation support program that provides training and ongoing coaching to organizations so that they launch programs more effectively and get their desired outcomes.

What is required of participating schools?

Schools will be randomly assigned to one of three groups:

  • Implementing Project ALERT on their own
  • Implementing Project ALERT with GTO support
  • Status quo, with access to the Project ALERT curriculum and GTO starting in year 3

Starting in fall 2021, schools implementing Project ALERT on their own or with GTO support will be asked to:

  • Implement Project ALERT to all 7th graders in study years 1, 2 and 3, and to all 8th graders in study years 2 & 3.
  • Allow research staff to observe a small number of Project ALERT lessons a year
  • Allow faculty and administration to be surveyed and/or interviewed about Project ALERT and GTO

Teachers implementing Project ALERT with GTO support will also participate in GTO training and coaching sessions.

In all schools, two classes will be invited to complete confidential surveys about alcohol, drugs and tobacco: twice in class in 7th grade, and once electronically each of the following two years.

How will participating schools benefit?

  • Teachers in schools implementing the Project ALERT curriculum with GTO support will be provided implementation training and coaching during years 1 and 2.
  • To show our appreciation, all participating schools will receive a stipend in years 1 and 2, and participating students, faculty, and staff will receive gift cards.
  • Additionally, at all schools implementing Project ALERT, the school’s point of contact will also receive a gift card.
  • Teachers can earn professional development Certificates of Completion for Project ALERT and GTO training.
  • Schools get to participate in a study of national significance.

Can my school or district participate?

We are currently identifying schools and school districts from across the country to participate in this national study. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss the possibility of enrolling your school or district, please contact our team at ProjectAlertGTO@rand.org.