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The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study: A Randomized Field Trial of a Universal Substance Abuse Prevention Program

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Dependence Volume: 102: Dated: 2009 Pages: 1-10
Zili Sloboda; Richard C. Stephens; Peggy C. Stephens; Scott F. Grey; Brent Teasdale; Richard D. Hawthorne; Joseph E. Williams; Jesse F. Marquette
Date Published
10 pages

The authors present their evaluation of the impacts of the school-based substance abuse prevention program, Take Charge of Your Life, to determine whether or not it had better outcomes on substance use at 11th grade than did the control or non-TCYL condition.


The purpose of the study was to determine whether a universal school-based substance abuse prevention program, Take Charge of Your Life (TCYL), prevents or reduces the use of tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana. For their research, the authors used 83 school clusters from six metropolitan areas, randomized to treatment or control conditions. Using active consenting procedures, 19,529 seventh graders were enrolled in the five-year study. Self-administered surveys were completed by the students annually. Trained Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) police officers presented TCYL in seventh and ninth grades in treatment schools. Analyses were conducted with data from 17,320 students who completed a baseline survey. The authors measured intervention outcomes using self-reported past-month and past-year use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana when students were in the 11th grade. Main effect analyses showed a negative program effect for use of alcohol and cigarettes and no effect for marijuana use. Subgroup analyses indicated that the negative effect occurred among nonusers at baseline, and mostly among white students of both genders. The authors found a positive program effect for students who used marijuana at baseline. The authors conclude that the negative impact of the program on baseline nonusers of alcohol and tobacco indicated that TCYL should not be delivered as a universal prevention intervention. The finding of a beneficial effect for baseline marijuana users further supports this conclusion. The programmatic and methodological challenges faced by the Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study (ASAPS) and lessons learned offer insights for prevention researchers who will be designing similar randomized field trials in the future. Publisher Abstract Provided