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Home > Publications > NIDA Notes > Vol. 18, No. 4 > Tearoff

NIDA-Funded Research Drives Revision of Guide to Prevention Programming
Vol. 18, No. 4 (November 2003)

NIDA has released the second edition of its highly regarded Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders in the fall of 2003. Like the first edition, published in 1997, this booklet offers parents, educators, and community leaders, as well as prevention practitioners, the latest findings from NIDA-funded prevention research. Accompanying this edition is an In Brief companion piece for quick reference. The goal of both publications is clearly defined: to help communities apply the findings from research-based prevention studies in addressing drug use among children and adolescents.

In the last 5 years, NIDA's prevention research program has more than doubled in size and scope to address all stages of youth development, a mix of audiences and settings, and the delivery of effective services at the community level. Research funded by NIDA and other Federal research organizations--such as the National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--shows that early intervention can prevent many adolescent risk behaviors.

NIDA-funded research has identified interventions that can minimize or prevent risks for drug abuse and other problem behaviors that can occur at every step along a child's development path. Working with families, schools, and communities, scientists have found effective ways to help people gain skills and learn strategies that can stop problem behaviors before they occur and strengthen factors that protect youths from vulnerability to drug use.

Sixteen fundamental prevention principles, derived from research on effective prevention programs, frame the guide's discussion. Using a question-and-answer format, the booklet addresses

  • key factors that place youths at risk for drug use, as well as those that confer protection;
  • how to plan prevention programs tailored to community needs; and
  • core elements of effective programs, which should be retained when adapting programs to match a community's characteristics.

Each chapter ends with a "Community Action Box" that provides clear advice to parents, educators, and community leaders on how to apply that chapter's information.

Community Action Box

PARENTS can use information on risk and protection to help them develop positive preventive actions (e.g., talking about family rules) before problems occur.

EDUCATORS can strengthen learning and bonding to school by intervening early to address aggressive behaviors and poor concentration--risks associated with later onset of drug use and related problems.

COMMUNITY LEADERS can assess community risk and protective factors associated with drug problems to appropriately target prevention services.

Example of a Community Action Box, offering straightforward tips on how parents, educators, and community leaders--the guide's primary readers--can apply the information found in each chapter.

The revision also describes more than 20 prevention programs, tested and proven in controlled trials by researchers throughout the Nation. Programs are described by the setting where they are implemented--the family, school, or community--and by the audience they target--all youths (universal programs), those at greater risk (selective programs), and those already involved with drugs or other problem behaviors (indicated programs). Some of the programs described are tiered, targeting more than one audience. Selected resources and references point to additional information to guide program planning and implementation.

To view additional NIDA publications and videos on drug abuse prevention, visit and select "Preventing Drug Abuse."


Volume 18, Number 4 (November 2003)

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