Preventing Drug Use

Published in: Targeting Investments in Children: Fighting Poverty When Resources are Limited, Chapter 7 /edited by Phillip B. Levine and David J. Zimmerman (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, Oct. 2010), p. 181-220

by Beau Kilmer, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

This chapter reviews the literatures on the effectiveness of substance use prevention and the effect of substance use on education, employment, and earnings. While there is a fair amount of evidence suggesting that prevention programs for adolescents have short-term effects on consumption, there is very little evidence suggesting these effects remain through high school. Overall, the findings remain fairly mixed in terms of the effects of sub stance use on schooling as well as on earnings and labor force participation. The authors strongly support additional research on the long-term effects of pre­vention programs and a more serious look at the direct effect of participation in these prevention programs on economic variables, such as educational attainment and early job entry.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.