Cover: Prospects for Preventing Drug Use Among Young Adolescents

Prospects for Preventing Drug Use Among Young Adolescents

Published 1990

by Phyllis L. Ellickson, Robert M. Bell


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Project ALERT (Adolescent Learning Experiences in Resistance Training), which is based on the social influence model of prevention, was developed at RAND to prevent or reduce the use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana by adolescents. Tested in 30 junior high schools in California and Oregon, it was effective in preventing marijuana use among both high and low-risk students. It also curbed cigarette use, including regular and daily use, among students who had previously experimented with smoking. However, early gains in preventing alcohol use during the seventh grade eroded by the time the students reached the eighth grade, suggesting that the social influence model is more likely to work against substances that are disapproved by society. It was also not effective with confirmed cigarette smokers. Notably, the program was at least as effective in schools with substantial minority populations as in predominantly white schools. The report recommends that programs based on the social-influence model be implemented in the nation's middle and junior high schools. It also suggests that booster sessions are critical for maintaining the effects of drug prevention programs.

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