, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 581-592

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Use Prevention Programs in U.S. Schools: A Descriptive Summary

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Abstract

This report identifies the prevalence of state, local, and commercially developed substance abuse prevention programs in middle and high schools from 2001 to 2007, using survey data from nationally representative samples of 1,206 schools. Based on school administrators’ reports, schools and school districts offer students an average of 1.62 prevention programs during their school years from elementary through high school. Bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted with school demographic characteristics public versus private, size, population density, region of the country, school race/ethnic composition, and socioeconomic status of the student body (SES) as predictors of total number of programs that students received and of the relative use of local, state, and commercial programs. Schools in the West had significantly fewer prevention programs than those in other regions of the country. Students in predominantly White and in higher SES schools received significantly more prevention programs than students in majority African American, majority Hispanic, or in lower SES affluent schools. The most frequently reported programs that students received were locally developed. D.A.R.E. was the most widely adopted prevention program. Findings from this study suggest that schools often develop their own curriculum to suit their students’ needs, and students are exposed to multiple prevention programs through their school years, making it difficult to examine the effectiveness of any single program in preventing and reducing substance use among students.