Researchers Look at Which School-Based Drug Education Programs are Most Effective

Assessing the effectiveness of school-based drug education programs

From 2000 through 2002, researchers at Social Capital Development Corporation analyzed outcome data from more than 200 school-based drug education/prevention programs.

The study employed updated meta-analytic research techniques to re-examine a 1999 analysis of the programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Key Findings

  • In contrast to previous findings, the researchers found that:

    • Programs that teach comprehensive life skills—such as assertiveness, decision-making and goal setting—were not more effective than social influences programs-which focus on helping young people resist the pressures to use substances.

      These findings held across all grade levels and all substances examined.
    • There was no statistically significant difference, across all grade levels, in the effectiveness of interactive programs—which foster interpersonal skills and active engagement between students and teachers—and lecture-oriented, non-interactive programs, which stress drug knowledge.