Drug Education News

News and views from the Drug Education Forum

Long-Term Effects of Drug Prevention on Risky Sexual Behavior Among Young Adults

The Journal of Adolescent Health has a study looking at the impact of Project ALERT, a school based drug prevention programme, on sexual behaviour amongst sexually active young people.

They found:

Compared to control, Project ALERT reduced the likelihood of all risky sex outcomes except inconsistent condom use among these sexually active young adults, effects that occurred 5 and 7 years after program exposure. Program effects were partially mediated by reductions in alcohol and drug abuse. There were no significant differences in program effects by gender or by program duration compared to control.

More details can be found on the RAND site which did the research.  Their press release says:

The study found that youth exposed to a drug abuse education program were significantly less likely as young adults to either engage in sex with multiple partners or to have unprotected sex because of drug and alcohol use than their peers who had not received the training.

However, researchers found that those who received drug prevention training were no more likely to use condoms consistently than their peers who did not receive the training.

They conclude:

Although the effects we found are somewhat modest, these findings show that the benefits of drug abuse prevention programs are not confined to drug use alone and can continue for many years after young people receive the instruction.

Update: Drug and Alcohol Findings took a look at ALERT in 2005 and said:

Rare for an early adolescence school programme to aim for harm reduction, very rare in the USA. In the face of patchy outcomes, Project ALERT re-focused on reducing harm, and found the intended improvements in smoking and drinking risk reductions.

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Filed under: research, USA

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