Report: Anti-Drug Curriculum Curbs Use Among Teens and Their Peers

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

(Addiction Now, April 20) A national curriculum that educates students about the dangers of drug use is not only having a positive impact on the participants; it turns out that even friends of kids in the program are likely to use drugs less as well, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The program, called Strengthening Families Program for Youth 10-14 (and also known as SFP10-14), is used in public schools across the nation and educates students aged 10 to 14. As part of the course, students meet with intervention facilitators once a week for seven weeks to discuss drug use, communication skills, how to respond to peer pressure, and more. Parents also have the option to participate. 
In the past, studies have shown that the curriculum does reduce drug use among the kids who participate. But the recent NIDA study looked at data collected from 5,449 six graders from rural Iowa and Pennsylvania who did not participate in the SFP10-14 program even though it was offered at their schools. 
During their research, they asked the kids who participated in the anti-drug program for the names of seven of their close friends. They then gathered information about: the students’ attitudes about substance abuse, their contact with friends who participated in the anti-drug program, their friends who smoke and drink excessively, and more.
“We found that SFP10-14 impacted adolescents who didn’t actually participate in the intervention,” one of the study’s leading researchers told Addiction Now. “One way this happened was by reducing how much time adolescents spent hanging out with their friends without adults around. This result is consistent with the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. Parents play an important role not only in shaping their own children but also in shaping their children’s friends.”
They concluded that teens who did not participate in the program are less likely to use drugs now and in the future if they had friends who completed the SFP10-14 curriculum. Read more.

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