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Evaluation of a Drug Abuse Education Course for Law Enforcement and Treatment Specialists

NCJ Number
International Journal of the Addictions Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: (1980) Pages: 125-135
P B Sutker; P M O'Neil
Date Published
11 pages
The effectiveness of a 13-week drug abuse education course for law enforcement specialists and treatment specialists was evaluated in a comparison of 37 students and 21 controls.
The course was a free evening course offered at one college from 1975 through 1977. Its goals were to provide scientific knowledge about alcohol and drug abuse and to produce more positive attitudes toward drug abuse clients and their treatability. Student selection was based on order of application. Controls were recruited from those denied registration because allotted spaces were filled. The two groups did not differ in age or education. Written self report instruments were used to assess knowledge and attitudes before and after the course. Responses of law enforcement specialists and treatment specialists were compared. Results showed a tendency for both students and controls to increase their fund of scientific knowledge and to demonstrate minimal attitude change. Police officers and treatment specialists both described drug abusers negatively. Personality variables such as dogmatism and sensation seeking were significantly related to the fund of information regarding drug abuse, although in different ways. A tendency to closedmindedness was negatively related to postcourse scientific knowledge, while sensation seeking attitudes were positively correlated with levels of precourse and postcourse scientific knowledge as well as knowledge of treatment resources. Results suggested that such courses should be packed in maximally stimulating formats for maximum impact. Results also suggested that providing education does not necessarily effect desired changes in knowledge, attitude, or behavior. Systematic evaluation of drug abuse education efforts is therefore essential. Tables, a figure, and 15 references are included. (Author abstract modified)


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