U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Replacing Ineffective Early Alcohol/Drug Education in the United States with Age-Appropriate Adolescent Programmes and Assistance to Problematic Users

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 26 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2007 Pages: 577-584
Rodney Skager
Date Published
November 2007
8 pages
This study examined data analysis and presentation practices used in the evaluation of school-based drug prevention programs.
The results of the study indicate that early Federal certification standards for evidence-based prevention education have been seriously compromised. The consistent prevalence of alcohol/drug (AOD) usage among youth over the past 15 years, despite more than a decade of Federal sponsorship of evidence based alcohol/drug education, has raised questions about data analysis and presentation practices used in the evaluation of school based drug prevention programs. Technical critiques of initial evaluations and negative replication studies of these programs were consistent with lack of impact. For example, study findings indicate that the emerging use of diverted pharmaceuticals, second to cannabis in prevalence, might be the reason that alcohol use has been recently reported in moderate decline. The fidelity of implementation of programs in regular school settings has also been commonly flawed. The documented failure of pre-secondary education programs might be the result of recent Federal support for forced random alcohol and/or drug testing of secondary school students. A new approach to drug education for adolescent students appears warranted, and might be preferred as a positive alternative rather than a more personally intrusive surveillance program. An interactive approach with students at the secondary school level that incorporates an age-appropriate educational process has been proposed; this approach promotes abstinence while identifying and assisting problematic AOD users. In the past, Federal funding has been an essential factor in support of successful school-based AOD education. Recent policy shifts on substance use among youth might reflect a weaker Federal commitment to address problems in school-based AOD education. Tables, references