Universal Drug Abuse Prevention Program Found Effective with High-Risk Inner-City School Population
is the First To Show Prevention Program Targeting all Students is
Effective with High Risk Youth
New York, NY,
December 17-- 2002 - Results of a study of youth from 29 inner city
middle schools participating in a randomized, controlled prevention
trial, has shown for the first time that a universal, school-based
prevention program that teaches drug refusal skills, and other essential
behaviors is effective with inner-city youth who are at higher than
average risk of substance abuse initiation.
prevention programs for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use have
typically been designed for all students within a particular school
setting. However, it has been unclear whether such programs can
be effective for those further along the continuum of risk, such
as young people with one or more risk factors for substance abuse
initiation," said the study's lead investigator, Kenneth W. Griffin,
Ph.D., M.P.H., Institute for Prevention Research, Weill Medical
College of Cornell University. These factors include peer social
influence (friends' use of alcohol and tobacco) and poor grades
In the new study,
the intervention program known as LifeSkills Training
(LST) was implemented to teach drug resistance skills,
norms against substance abuse, important personal management skills,
and general social skills to a sub-sample (21%) of 426 youth at
high-risk. These skills are taught using a combination of teaching
techniques -- including group discussion, demonstration, modeling,
behavioral rehearsal (in-class practice), feedback and reinforcement,
and behavioral 'homework' assignments for out-of-class practice.
The sample was
comprised of economically disadvantaged, inner-city youth, as indicated
by the fact that 61% were students who received free lunch at school
and more than one-third of students lived in mother-only households.
49% of the sample were male, and 51% female, 58% were African-American
and 29% were Hispanic.
less smoking, drinking, inhalant use, after one-year follow-up assessment,
compared to 332 youth at high risk in the control group who did
not receive the intervention.
are particularly interesting, since they are based on a composite
of variables, including use of multiple drugs, frequency of use,
quantity of use and the comprehensive effects of these variables
on behavior," added study co-author Gilbert J. Botvin, Ph.D., developer
of The LifeSkills Training program, and an internationally
known expert on drug abuse prevention who is currently a Professor
of Public Health and Psychiatry at Weill Medical College of Cornell
University and Director of Cornell's Institute for Prevention Research.
Training is widely regarded as the most effective and rigorously
tested school-based prevention program. Proven to cut alcohol, tobacco
and drug use by up to 87 percent, LifeSkills Training
is based on 20 years of research by Dr. Botvin and his associates
at the Institute for Prevention Research of Cornell University Medical
College. More than a dozen published research studies have documented
the effectiveness of the LST approach.
Training is the only substance abuse prevention program recommended
by every key federal agency concerned with substance abuse, including
the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention, the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the U.S.
Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the
White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The program
currently serves over one million students in 25,000 classrooms
and 3,000 schools/districts throughout all 50 states, and worldwide
in Japan, Korea, Mexico, Sweden, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Argentina.
For a copy of
the study, go to www.med.cornell.edu/ipr,
click on publications, then under year 2003. For additional information
on the study or LifeSkills Training, call 212-996-1715.