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Example of International Drug Politics--The Development and Distribution of Substance Prevention Programs Directed at Adolescents

NCJ Number
Substance Use & Misuse Volume: 42 Issue: 2-3 Dated: 2007 Pages: 317-342
John Lilja; Joanna Giota; David Hamilton; Sam Larsson
Date Published
26 pages
This article analyzes the problems associated with substance use prevention programs directed at adolescents for use in school settings.
The problems associated with substance abuse prevention programs that have been developed by researchers in the United States for adolescent target groups include: (1) difficulties with accessibility; (2) difficulty of use; (3) copyright status; (4) limited evaluation options; (5) misuse of programs scales; and (6) ratings. The authors argue that there is a critical need to develop substance use prevention programs that are not copyrighted. Other recommendations include the need to empirically evaluate each component within a program separately and the need for funding bodies to be more active in supporting the production of manuals and evaluation instruments for substance use prevention programs designed for adolescents. Moreover, it is important that researchers gain a better understanding of the following factors in order to design substance use prevention programming that is more effective: (1) how adolescents live their lives both as individuals and as members of various networks; (2) what needs they have and which culturally based needs they are unaware of; (3) the adaptations they make to their daily lives and the associated demands; (4) how effective or ineffective they are in their lifestyles; and (5) the options they perceive and experience as being available, accessible, and desirable. Also discussed in the article are the unintended consequences of substance use prevention programming for adolescents and the need for long-term evaluations to determine the risks they may pose to adolescents. The authors also analyze the “social competence” training that is a component of many substance use prevention programs even though the terms itself is vague and the training is often focused on situations outside of school, which cannot be easily combined with an authoritarian teaching style. Table, resumes, references