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Education and Prevention of Drug Abuse

  1. A report by the U.S. Center on Substance Abuse Prevention stated that "alternatives programming appears to be most effective among those youth at greatest risk for substance abuse and related problems." According to the report, alternatives are defined as, "those that provide targeted populations with activities that are free of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs."

    Source: Maria Carmona and Kathryn Stewart, "A Review of Alternative Activities and Alternatives Programs in Youth-Oriented Prevention" (CSAP Technical Report 13), National Center for the Advancement of Prevention, under contract for the US Dept. of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1996, pp. 3, 20.

  2. "Universal prevention efforts face a more challenging task in a society in which, for instance, binge drinking and smoking in public spaces are widely accepted and have positive value associations such as extroversion and fun (in the former case) and civil liberty (in the latter case). This weakens the credibility of prevention measures, because it appears to adolescents that disapproval of illicit drug use, and attempts to prevent it, stem only from legal concerns and not from a real social commitment to avoid harmful substance use."

    Source: "Selected Issues: Annual Report 2006: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2006), p. 17.

  3. Researchers on a grant from NIDA found that school drug testing has no impact on student drug use. According to the researchers, "Does drug testing prevent or inhibit student drug use? Members of the Supreme Court appear to believe it does. However, among the eighth-, 10th-, and 12-grade students surveyed in this study, school drug testing was not associated with either the prevalence or the frequency of student marijuana use, or of other illicit drug use. Nor was drug testing of athletes associated with lower-than-average marijuana and other illicit drug use by high school male athletes. Even among those who identified themselves as fairly experienced marijuana users, drug testing also was not associated with either the prevalence or the frequency of marijuana or other illicit drug use."

    Source:   Yamaguchi, Ryoko, Lloyd D. Johnston & Patrick M. O'Malley, Relationship Between Student Illicit Drug Use and School Drug-Testing Policies," Journal of School Health, April 2003, Vol. 73, No. 4, p. 164.

  4. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, "Drug testing of students is more prevalent in schools where drugs are used, kept or sold than in schools that are drug free. While only 23 percent of drug-free schools drug test students, 38 percent of non-drug-free schools conduct some type of drug testing. "Drug testing is not associated with either significantly lower risk scores or lower estimates of student body drug use. The average risk score of teens attending a school that is not drug free but has drug testing is 1.69; the average risk score of students at non-drug-free schools without drug testing is 1.50. The estimate of students using illegal drugs averages 40 percent for non-drug-free schools with testing and 34 percent at non-drug-free schools without testing."

    Source:   QEV Analytics, "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse VIII: Teens and Parents" (New York, NY: National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, August 2003), pp. 20-21.

  5. "In 2004, 60.3 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 reported that they had talked at least once in the past year with at least one of their parents about the dangers of drug, tobacco, or alcohol use; this rate represents an increase from the 2003 rate of 58.9 percent and the 2002 rate of 58.1 percent. Among youths who reported having had such conversations with their parents, rates of current alcohol and cigarette use and past year and lifetime use of alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit drugs were lower than among youths who did not report such conversations. For example, past month binge drinking was reported by 10.5 percent of youths who had talked with their parents about drug, tobacco, or alcohol use compared with 12.0 percent of those who had not. Past month use of illicit drugs other than marijuana was reported by 4.6 percent of youths who had such conversations with their parents compared with 6.3 percent of those who had not."

    Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings," Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-28, DHHS Publication No. SMA 05-4062) (Rockville, MD: NIDA, Sept. 2005), p. 65.

  6. "The profiles of young cannabis users, at least in the early stages of consumption, do not differ from those of young alcohol or tobacco users. This supports the idea that universal prevention for young people should not focus on cannabis alone, but should be aimed at preventing use of alcohol and tobacco too."

    Source: "Annual Report 2006: The State of the Drugs Problem in Europe," European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2006), pp. 43-44.

  7. "GAO’s review of Westat’s evaluation reports and associated documentation leads to the conclusion that the evaluation provides credible evidence that the campaign was not effective in reducing youth drug use, either during the entire period of the campaign or during the period from 2002 to 2004 when the campaign was redirected and focused on marijuana use."

    Source: Government Accountability Office, "ONDCP Media Campaign: Contractor's National Evaluation Did Not Find That the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Was Effective in Reducing Youth Drug Use" (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, August 2006), GAO-06-818.

  8. Researchers examining the effectiveness of ONDCP's anti-drug media campaign reported: "The NSPY [National Survey of Parents and Youth] did not find significant reductions in marijuana use either leading up to or after the Marijuana campaign for youth 12 to 18 years old between 2002 and 2003. Indeed there was evidence for an increase in past month and past year use among the target audience of 14- to 16-year-olds, although it appears that the increase was already in place in the last half of 2002, before the launch of the Marijuana Initiative. It will be worthwhile to track whether the nonsignificant decline from the second half of 2002 through the first half of 2003 is the beginning of a true trend. There was a significant decrease in lifetime marijuana use among youth 16 to 18 years of age from 2002 to 2003; however, since this significant decrease was not replicated in either the directly relevant past year or past month time periods, it is difficult to ascribe the change to the campaign."

    Source:   Hornik, Robert, David Maklan, Diane Cadell, Carlin Henry Barmada, Lela Jacobsohn, Vani R. Henderson, Anca Romantan, Jeffrey Niederdeppe, Robert Orwin, Sanjeev Sridharan, Adam Chu, Carol Morin, Kristie Taylor, Diane Steele, "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: 2003 Report of Findings," Delivered to National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services By Westat & the Annenberg School for Communication, Contract No. N01DA-8-5063, December 22, 2003, p. 4-15.

  9. In its evaluation of ONDCP's Antidrug Media Campaign, researchers from Westat and the Annenberg School of Communication concluded: "In sum, the analysis of the NSPY data does not support a claim that use among the target audience of 14- to 16-year-olds has declined with the initiation of the Marijuana Initiative. Contrarily, it appears to have increased in the past year compared to prior measurement, although the increase appears to have occurred before the start of the Marijuana Initiative and was only maintained during the first half of 2003. The MTF [Monitoring the Future survey] data does show declines, particularly for 8th and 10th graders. However, these declines cannot be confidently attributed to the operation of the Campaign."

    Source:   Hornik, Robert, David Maklan, Diane Cadell, Carlin Henry Barmada, Lela Jacobsohn, Vani R. Henderson, Anca Romantan, Jeffrey Niederdeppe, Robert Orwin, Sanjeev Sridharan, Adam Chu, Carol Morin, Kristie Taylor, Diane Steele, "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: 2003 Report of Findings," Delivered to National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services By Westat & the Annenberg School for Communication, Contract No. N01DA-8-5063, December 22, 2003, p. 4-15.

  10. In its evaluation of ONDCP's Antidrug Media Campaign, researchers from Westat and the Annenberg School of Communication concluded: "In the previous reports, based on both favorable trends over time and cross-sectional associations, there was evidence supportive of Campaign effects on talking with children; on beliefs and attitudes regarding monitoring of children; and, in the case of the cross-sectional associations, on doing fun activities with them. These results still hold when Wave 7 parent reports are added, although youth reports of monitoring and talking behaviors are not consistent with parent reports and thus call into question the favorable changes in behavior that may be associated with the Campaign."

    Source:   Hornik, Robert, David Maklan, Diane Cadell, Carlin Henry Barmada, Lela Jacobsohn, Vani R. Henderson, Anca Romantan, Jeffrey Niederdeppe, Robert Orwin, Sanjeev Sridharan, Adam Chu, Carol Morin, Kristie Taylor, Diane Steele, "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: 2003 Report of Findings," Delivered to National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services By Westat & the Annenberg School for Communication, Contract No. N01DA-8-5063, December 22, 2003, p. 6-1.

  11. The Government Accountability Office reported that "Westat’s analysis of the relationship between exposure to campaign advertisements and youth self-reported drug use in the NSPY data for the entire period covered by its evaluation -- assessments that used statistical methods to adjust for individual differences and control for other factors that could explain changes in self-reported drug use -- showed no significant effects of exposure to the campaign on initiation of marijuana by prior nonusing youth. Westat’s analysis found significant unfavorable effects -- that is, a relationship between campaign exposure and higher rates of initiation -- during one round of NSPY data and for the whole period of the campaign among certain subgroups of the sample (e.g., 12-1/2- to 13-year-olds and girls). Westat found no effects of campaign exposure on rates of quitting or use by prior users of marijuana."

    Source: Government Accountability Office, "ONDCP Media Campaign: Contractor's National Evaluation Did Not Find That the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Was Effective in Reducing Youth Drug Use" (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, August 2006), GAO-06-818, pp. 6-7.

  12. According to a report prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication, "In summary, thus far there is relatively little evidence for effects of the Campaign on youth. While there are scattered positive results, they are balanced by scattered negative results. There are some anomalies in the evidence presented that are suggestive in one way or another. However, once one steps back and examines the entire evidence base, it is hard to be confident that any of these results are reliable."

    Source:  Horik, Robert, et al., "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: Third Semi-Annual Report of Findings," analysis prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (Rockville, MD: NIDA, October 2001) p. 5-21.

  13. According to a report prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication, "Neither the overall results nor the subgroup analyses show consistent evidence supportive of a Campaign effect."

    Source:  Horik, Robert, et al., "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: Third Semi-Annual Report of Findings," analysis prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (Rockville, MD: NIDA, October 2001) p. 5-20.

  14. Regarding exposure to ONDCP’s National Anti-Drug Media Campaign and marijuana use by 12-18 year olds, a report prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School of Communication determined: "The conclusion then is that there is no supportive evidence that campaign exposure, however measured, is associated either positively or negatively with any of the four cognitive outcomes for the full sample of 12- to 18-year-olds." (The four cognitive outcomes are: Intentions to Use Marijuana; Attitude/Belief; Social Norms; and Self-Efficacy to Refuse Marijuana.)

    Source:  Horik, Robert, et al., "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: Third Semi-Annual Report of Findings," analysis prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (Rockville, MD: NIDA, October 2001) p. 5-15.

  15. Regarding exposure to ONDCP’s National Anti-Drug Media Campaign and marijuana use by 12-18 year olds, a report prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School of Communication determined: "Thus far there is little evidence of direct Campaign effects on youth. There is no statistically significant change in marijuana use or in beliefs and attitudes about marijuana use, and no tendency for those reporting more exposure to Campaign messages to hold more desirable beliefs."

    Source:  Horik, Robert, et al., "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: Third Semi-Annual Report of Findings," analysis prepared for NIDA by Westat and the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (Rockville, MD: NIDA, October 2001) p. ix.

  16. "Out-of-school exposure to drug or alcohol prevention messages in the past year was reported by 83.0 percent of youths aged 12 to 17 in 2004, a percentage similar to that in 2002 and 2003. Most indicators of current alcohol and drug use were similar for youths exposed to such out-of-school messages and those reporting no such exposure. However, past month use of illicit drugs was lower among those who were exposed than among those not exposed (10.3 vs. 11.8 percent)."

    Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings," Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H-28, DHHS Publication No. SMA 05-4062) (Rockville, MD: NIDA, Sept. 2005), p. 65.

  17. Researchers for the federal government used data from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse to examine adolescent drug use. They found that "Youths aged 15 to 17 had a higher odds of past year use of marijuana than youths aged 12 to 14. Males showed a slightly higher odds of past year use than females. Blacks were less likely than whites to have used marijuana in the past year. Youths in two-parent families had lower odds of past year marijuana use than other youths. Youths in large and small metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) had somewhat higher odds of marijuana use in the past year than youths from non-MSAs. Youths in the West region had higher odds of having used marijuana in the past year than youths in the other regions."

    Source:  Wright, Douglas & Michael Pemberton, "Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Drug Use: Findings from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse," DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3874, Analytic Series A-19 (Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, January 2004), p. 59.

  18. Researchers for the federal government used data from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse to examine adolescent drug use. They found that "Within the community domain, higher levels of neighborhood cohesiveness were significantly associated with lower odds of past year marijuana use for whites (OR = 0.72) and blacks (OR = 0.81), but not for Hispanics or youths in the "other" category (Table 3.7). Exposure to prevention messages in the media was significantly associated with lower odds of past year marijuana use for whites (OR = 0.68) and Hispanics (OR = 0.63), but not for blacks or youths in the "other" category."

    Source:  Wright, Douglas & Michael Pemberton, "Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Drug Use: Findings from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse," DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3874, Analytic Series A-19 (Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, January 2004), p. 60.

  19. Researchers for the federal government used data from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse to examine adolescent drug use. They found that "Within the family domain, higher levels of parental communication about substances were significantly associated with lower odds of past year marijuana use among Hispanic youths (OR = 0.67), but not among youths of other racial/ethnic groups (Table 3.8). Within the peer/individual domain, participation in two or more extracurricular activities was significantly associated with lower odds of past year marijuana use among whites (OR = 0.45), blacks (OR = 0.64), and Hispanics (OR = 0.70), but not for youths in the "other" category (Table 3.9). Within the school domain, strong sanctions against illegal drug use were significantly associated with lower odds of past year marijuana use among whites (OR = 0.48), Hispanics (OR = 0.61), and youths in the "other" category (OR = 0.31), but not for blacks (Table 3.10). Finally, exposure to prevention messages in school was associated with lower odds of past year marijuana use for whites (OR = 0.60) and Hispanics (OR = 0.55), but not for blacks or youths in the "other" category."

    Source:  Wright, Douglas & Michael Pemberton, "Risk and Protective Factors for Adolescent Drug Use: Findings from the 1999 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse," DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3874, Analytic Series A-19 (Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, January 2004), p. 60.

  20. According to NIDA's 1998 Household Survey, " exposure to prevention messages outside school, such as through the media, was fairly widespread but appeared to be unrelated to illicit drug use or being drunk." NIDA goes on to report, "Nearly 80% of youths who used illicit drugs and more than three-fourths of youths who were drunk on 51 or more days in the past year reported being exposed to prevention messages outside school."

    Source:  Office of Applied Studies, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Main Findings 1998 (Rockville, MD: SAMHSA, US Department of Health and Human Services, March 2000), p. 174.

  21. "Our results are consistent in documenting the absence of beneficial effects associated with the DARE program. This was true whether the outcome consisted of actual drug use or merely attitudes toward drug use. In addition, we examined processes that are the focus of intervention and purportedly mediate the impact of DARE (e.g., self-esteem and peer resistance), and these also failed to differentiate DARE participants from nonparticipants. Thus, consistent with the earlier Clayton et al. (1996) study, there appear to be no reliable short-term, long-term, early adolescent, or young adult positive outcomes associated with receiving the DARE intervention."

    Source:  Lynam, Donald R., Milich, Richard, et al., "Project DARE: No Effects at 10-Year Follow-Up", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, August 1999), Vol. 67, No. 4, 590-593.

  22. A federally funded Research Triangle Institute study of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) found that "DARE's core curriculum effect on drug use relative to whatever drug education (if any) was offered in the control schools is slight and, except for tobacco use, is not statistically significant."

    Source: Ennett, S.T., et al., "How Effective Is Drug Abuse Resistance Education? A Meta-Analysis of Project DARE Outcome Evaluations," American Journal of Public Health, 84: 1394-1401 (1994).

  23. Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, completed a six-year study of 1,798 students and found that "DARE had no long-term effects on a wide range of drug use measures"; DARE does not "prevent drug use at the stage in adolescent development when drugs become available and are widely used, namely during the high school years"; and that DARE may actually be counter productive. According to the study, "there is some evidence of a boomerang effect among suburban kids. That is, suburban students who were DARE graduates scored higher than suburban students in the Control group on all four major drug use measures."

    Source: Rosenbaum, Dennis, "Assessing the Effects of School-based Drug Education: A Six Year Multilevel Analysis of Project DARE," Abstract of article published in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 35, No. 4 (November, 1998).

  24. A federal report by the U.S. Center on Substance Abuse Prevention noted that "adolescence is a period in which youth reject conventionality and traditional authority figures in an effort to establish their own independence. For a significant number of adolescents, this rejection consists of engaging in a number of 'risky' behaviors, including drug and alcohol use. Within the past few years, researchers and practitioners have begun to focus on this tendency, suggesting that drug use may be a 'default' activity engaged in when youth have few or no opportunities to assert their independence in a constructive manner."

    Source: Maria Carmona and Kathryn Stewart, A Review of Alternative Activities and Alternatives Programs in Youth-Oriented Prevention (National Center for the Advancement of Prevention, under contract for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1996), p. 5.

  25. The World Health Organization noted that, while some studies indicate that adolescents who use marijuana might be more likely to drop out of high school and experience job instability in young adulthood, "the apparent strength of these cross-sectional studies ... has been exaggerated because those adolescents who are most likely to use cannabis have lower academic aspirations and poorer high school performance prior to using cannabis, than their peers who do not."

    Source: Hall, W., Room, R., & Bondy, S., WHO Project on Health Implications of Cannabis Use: A Comparative Appraisal of the Health and Psychological Consequences of Alcohol, Cannabis, Nicotine and Opiate Use August 28, 1995 (Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1998).

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