The purpose of this study is to evaluate the available evidence on the effectiveness of drug control measures, and to recommend the most promising areas for future private and public programs to reduce the use of drugs by young people. Illicit drug use is widespread among both adolescents and adults. Programs to control it have employed three principal methods: (1) enforcement of drug laws; (2) treatment of chronic abusers; and (3) prevention of initial drug use. The authors find that while intensified law enforcement is not likely to reduce adolescent drug use, and the benefits of expanded treatment remain uncertain, prevention programs hold more promise. The most encouraging evidence comes from the success of school-based programs to prevent cigarette smoking, which offer a strategy that may be adaptable to other drugs.
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