|Griffin, K. W., Botvin, G. J., Nichols, T. R., & Doyle, M. M. (2003). Effectiveness of a universal drug abuse prevention approach for youth at high risk for substance use initiation. Preventive Medicine, 36, 1-7.
Universal school-based prevention programs for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use are typically designed for all students within a particular school setting. However, it is unclear whether such broad-based programs are effective for youth at high risk for substance use initiation. The effectiveness of a universal drug abuse preventive intervention was examined among youth from 29 inner-city middle schools participating in a randomized, controlled prevention trial. A subsample of youth (21% of full sample) were identified as at high risk for substance use initiation based on exposure to substance-using peers and poor academic performance in school. The prevention program taught drug refusal skills, anti-drug norms, personal self-management skills and general social skills. Findings indicated that youth at high risk who received the program (n = 426) reported less smoking, drinking, inhalant use, and polydrug use at the one-year follow-up assessment compared to youth at high risk in the control condition that did not receive the intervention (n = 332). Results indicate that a universal drug abuse prevention program is effective for minority, economically disadvantaged, inner-city youth who are at higher than average risk for substance use initiation. Findings suggest that universal prevention programs can be effective for a range of youth along a continuum of risk.