TABLE 17–1. Principles for effective prevention
programs should enhance protective factors and reverse or reduce
programs should address all forms of drug abuse, alone or in combination, including
the underage use of legal drugs (e.g., tobacco or alcohol); the
use of illegal drugs (e.g., marijuana or heroin); and the inappropriate
use of legally obtained substances (e.g., inhalants), prescription medications,
or over-the-counter drugs.
programs should address the type of drug abuse problem in the local
community, target modifiable risk factors, and strengthen identified
programs should be tailored to address risks specific to population
or audience characteristics, such as age, gender, and ethnicity,
to improve program effectiveness.
prevention programs should enhance family bonding and relationships
and include parenting skills; practice in developing, discussing,
and enforcing family policies on substance abuse; and training in
drug education and information.
programs can be designed to intervene as early as preschool to address
risk factors for drug abuse, such as aggressive behavior, poor social
skills, and academic difficulties.
programs for elementary school children should target improving
academic and social-emotional learning to address risk factors for
drug abuse, such as early aggression, academic failure, and school
dropout. Education should focus on the following skills:
programs for middle or junior high and high school students should
increase academic and social competence with the following skills:
Study habits and academic support
Self-efficacy and assertiveness
Reinforcement of antidrug attitudes
Strengthening of personal commitments against drug
programs aimed at general populations at key transition points,
such as the transition to middle school, can produce beneficial
effects even among high-risk families and children. Such interventions
do not single out risk populations and, therefore, reduce labeling
and promote bonding to school and community.
prevention programs that combine two or more effective programs,
such as family- and school-based programs, can be more effective
than a single program.
prevention programs reaching populations in multiple settings—for
example, schools, clubs, faith-based organizations, and the media—are
most effective when they present consistent community-wide messages
in each setting.
communities adapt programs to match their needs, community norms,
or differing cultural requirements, they should retain core elements
of the original research-based intervention that include
Structure (how the program is organized and constructed)
Content (what the information, skills, and strategies
of the program are)
Delivery (how the program is adapted, implemented,
programs should be long term, with repeated interventions (i.e.,
booster programs) to reinforce the original prevention goals. Research
shows that the benefits from middle school prevention programs diminish
without follow-up programs in high school.
programs should include teacher training on good classroom management practices,
such as rewarding appropriate student behavior. Such techniques
help to foster students' positive behavior, achievement,
academic motivation, and school bonding.
programs are most effective when they employ interactive techniques,
such as peer discussion groups and parent role-playing, that allow
for active involvement in learning about drug abuse and reinforcing
prevention programs can be cost-effective.