Project ALERT, A Smoking and Drug Prevention Experiment

First-Year Progress Report

by Phyllis L. Ellickson


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This Note reports on the progress of the first year of Project ALERT (Adolescent Learning Experiences in Resistance Training), an experiment testing the effectiveness of the social influence approach in preventing adolescent drug use. The program is based on evidence that adolescents appear to use drugs in response to social influences and in emulation of behavior they view as mature and independent. An important objective of the experiment is to test the program in a variety of school environments. A key feature of the curriculum is its stress on maximum student participation and practice, eliciting responses from them rather than forcing values and facts on them. The core curriculum covers (1) reasons why people do and do not use drugs, (2) consequences of use, (3) identifying and rewriting the messages in ads, and (4) saying "no" to external and internal pressure.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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