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 support training and coaching. The findings may impact school drug prevention program implementation nationwide.
  • Research shows that adolescence is when youth 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 use 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?

  • Developed and recently updated by RAND, 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 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:

  • Project ALERT only: Teachers get paid, online Project ALERT training
  • Project ALERT plus GTO: Teachers get paid, online Project ALERT training AND paid training and coaching in GTO
  • Status quo

In the 2 Project ALERT groups:

  • Online teacher training in Fall, 2021
  • 7th graders take Project ALERT classes in January in years 1-3, and 8th graders take 3 booster lessons in years 2-3
  • Researchers observe 3 ALERT classes in 7th grade in years 1-3

In all 3 groups:

  • Surveys of some staff, and students in 2 classes
  • Project ALERT can be implemented in all schools in year 3

How will participating schools benefit from this study?

  • School and teacher stipends available
  • Evidence-based curriculum
  • Teachers asked to use Project ALERT and GTO will be paid for their training time
  • Promotes social-emotional learning
  • Reduces problem classroom behaviors
  • Builds school capacity to scale and sustain Project ALERT
  • Aligns with health frameworks and standards
  • Meets drug education requirements
  • Responds to parent concerns

Can my school or district participate?

We are currently identifying schools and school districts to participate in this study. If you have additional questions or would like to discuss the possibility of enrolling your school or district, please contact our team at You will receive a prompt reply.

Thank you for considering this research opportunity.