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Lessons from Prevention Research

The principles listed below are the result number and type of risk factors (e.g.,
of long-term research studies on the deviant attitudes and behaviors) and
origins of drug abuse behaviors and the protective factors (e.g., parental
common elements of effective prevention support) (Wills et al. 1996).
programs. These principles were developed • The potential impact of specific risk
to help prevention practitioners use the and protective factors changes with
results of prevention research to address age. For example, risk factors within
drug use among children and adolescents the family have greater impact on a
in communities across the country. Parents, younger child, while association with
educators, and community leaders can use drug-abusing peers may be a more
these principles to help guide their thinking, significant risk factor for an adolescent
planning, selection, and delivery of drug (Gerstein and Green 1993; Dishion
abuse prevention programs at the com- et al. 1999).
munity level. • Early intervention with risk factors
(e.g., aggressive behavior and poor
Prevention programs are generally self-control) often has a greater
designed for use in a particular setting, impact than later intervention by
such as at home, at school, or within the changing a child’s life path (trajectory)
community, but can be adapted for use in away from problems and toward
several settings. In addition, programs are positive behaviors (Ialongo et al. 2001).
also designed with the intended audience • While risk and protective factors can
in mind: for everyone in the population, affect people of all groups, these
for those at greater risk, and for those factors can have a different effect
already involved with drugs or other depending on a person’s age, gender,
problem behaviors. Some programs can ethnicity, culture, and environment
be geared for more than one audience. (Beauvais et al. 1996; Moon et
al. 1999).
Principle 1—Prevention programs should
enhance protective factors and reverse or Principle 2—Prevention programs should
reduce risk factors (Hawkins et al. 2002). address all forms of drug abuse, alone or
in combination, including the underage
• The risk of becoming a drug abuser use of legal drugs (e.g., tobacco or
involves the relationship among the alcohol); the use of illegal drugs (e.g.,

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children are learning about the harmful effects of drugs and opens opportuni- Principle 4—Prevention programs should ties for family discussions about the be tailored to address risks specific to abuse of legal and illegal substances population or audience characteristics. gender. techniques for 2002). tionship between parents and children. be designed to intervene as early as pre- and enforcing family policies on substance school to address risk factors for drug abuse. and academic difficulties (Webster-Stratton 1998. discussing. parent-child communication. 2001). praise for appro- priate behavior. 1997). inhalants). These skills can be enhanced with or over-the-counter drugs (Johnston et al. Bonding can be strengthened through Principle 7—Prevention programs for skills training on parent supportiveness of elementary school children should target children. 2001). such as aggressive behavior. et al. to • Brief. and the inappropri. and training in drug education abuse.marijuana or heroin). Webster-Stratton Family bonding is the bedrock of the rela. con- Principle 3—Prevention programs should sistent discipline that enforces defined address the type of drug abuse problem family rules (Kosterman et al. training on rule-setting. poor and information (Ashery et al. improving academic and social-emotional and parental involvement (Kosterman et learning to address risk factors for drug al. target modifiable • Drug education and information for risk factors. and moderate. and ethnicity. family-focused interventions for improve program effectiveness (Oetting the general population can positively et al. 2001). abuse. social skills. and strengthen identified parents or caregivers reinforces what protective factors (Hawkins et al. academic February 2004 Page 2 of 5 . prescription medications. programs should enhance family bonding and relationships and include parenting Principle 6—Prevention programs can skills. • Parental monitoring and supervision ate use of legally obtained substances are critical for drug abuse prevention. (e. such as early aggression. in the local community. monitoring activities. change specific parenting behavior that can reduce later risks of drug Principle 5—Family-based prevention abuse (Spoth et al. (Bauman et al. such as age. 1998). 1997). 2002).. practice in developing. 2002b).g.

and the media —are most effective when they present Principle 8—Prevention programs for consistent. Education Principle 10—Community prevention should focus on the following skills programs that combine two or more (Conduct Problems Prevention Research effective programs. • emotional awareness. 2002). • Structure (how the program is • reinforcement of anti-drug attitudes. 1998). Principle 9—Prevention programs aimed at general populations at key transition Principle 13—Prevention programs points. reading. implemented. original research-based intervention • peer relationships. faith-based organizations. such as family-based Group 2002. • Delivery (how the program is adapted. Ialongo et al. and • strengthening of personal commit. skills. Such interventions do not single out risk Research shows that the benefits from populations and.e. students should increase academic and social competence with the following skills Principle 12—When communities adapt (Botvin et al. and ments against drug abuse.. February 2004 Page 3 of 5 . especially in settings—for example. 2001): and school-based programs. schools. such as the transition to middle should be long-term with repeated inter- school. or differing cultural requirements. et al. Principle 11—Community prevention • social problem-solving. and programs reaching populations in multiple • academic support. community-wide messages in middle or junior high and high school each setting (Chou et al. 1997). can produce beneficial effects ventions (i. • study habits and academic support. they should retain core elements of the • communication. which include: • self-efficacy and assertiveness. (Battistich et al. reduce labeling middle school prevention programs diminish and promote bonding to school and without followup programs in high school community (Botvin et al. 2002b). and evaluated). Scheier et al. 1999). and • Content (the information. (Spoth et al. therefore. clubs. • communication. organized and constructed). booster programs) to even among high-risk families and children. strategies of the program). 1995. 1999): programs to match their needs. Dishion (Scheier et al. 1995. community norms. • drug resistance skills. and school dropout.failure. reinforce the original prevention goals. can be more effective than a single program alone • self-control.

.. Battistich. Long-term follow-up results of a randomized drug-abuse prevention trial in a white middle class population. Chavez. Bauman. 2002a). Montgomery..A. R. American Journal of Public Health 88:944–948. seen (Aos et al. Solomon.... T. iors that occur throughout a child’s devel- opment. C. Washington. such as peer discussion mental path. D. L. G. Drug Abuse Prevention Through Family Interventions. Foshee. and Cornell. References Aos. and Diaz. S. such as addresses all stages of child development. Journal of the American Medical Association 273:1106–1112. Mexican American. students with academic problems. Effects of a community-based prevention program in decreasing drug use in high-risk adolescents.. Control and Prevention—shows that a savings of up to $10 in treatment for early intervention can prevent many alcohol or other substance abuse can be adolescent risk behaviors. Phipps. Vol. May 2001. schools. E. R. 2002. to stop problem behaviors before they occur.. WA: Washington State Institute for Public Policy. G.B. The influence of a family program on adolescent tobacco and alcohol. that families. February 2004 Page 4 of 5 . academic munity level. Educational Psychologist 32(3):137–151.L. Baker. Johnson. 2001... achievement... and victimization among White American. 4 (1-05-1201).. F. and Mackinnon. Botvin. Barnoski. Prevention interventions designed Principle 15—Prevention programs are and tested to address risks can help most effective when they employ interac. Journal of Counseling Psychology 43:292–299. E. American Journal of Public Health 91(4):604–610. Watson. R. Ashery.. 1995). M.. allow for active involvement in learning scientists have found effective ways to about drug abuse and reinforcing skills help people gain the skills and approaches (Botvin et al.. The Institute focuses on risks motivation. Hawkins et al. Olympia.Principle 14—Prevention programs 1999. rewarding appropriate student behavior. S. and communities.. 1995. M. a mix of audiences and settings. J. Working more broadly with groups and parent role-playing. Research funded by NIDA and Principle 16—Research-based prevention other Federal research organizations— programs can be cost-effective. and the Such techniques help to foster students’ delivery of effective services at the com- positive behavior. Ennett. and school bonding (Ialongo for drug abuse and other problem behav- et al.S. Spoth et al. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 30(1):37–52. DC: U. and Koch. Hicks. and American Indian dropouts. Similar to such as the National Institute of Mental earlier research. 177. Rohrbach. Robertson. Drug use. Flay.. B.. E. V. Chou. children at every step along their develop- tive techniques. Beauvais. K. 1996. Government Printing Office. D. The Comparative Costs and Benefits of Programs to Reduce Crime. Predictor variables associated with positive Fast Track outcomes at the end of third grade. King. and Lieb. NIDA Research Monograph No. Pemberton.A. 1997. Oetting. 2001). Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group. 1998..S.. E. recent research shows Health and the Centers for Disease that for each dollar invested in prevention. Caring school communities.. Dusenbury. E.. should include teacher training on good NIDA’s prevention research program classroom management practices. and Schaps. Pentz 1998.. Pentz. and Kumpfer. P. Botvin.G.. violence. and students in good academic standing. V. S.. K. L. K. E. eds.S.E. M. G. 2001. Deffenbacher.... T.T. 1998. C.

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