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Middle-School Methamphetamine Prevention Called Effective

JoinTogether.com   September 7, 2006

Research Summary

Middle-school students in rural areas who attended prevention programs aimed at methamphetamine use were less likely to use the drug when they got older, according to research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Researchers examined outcomes from a group of Iowa families who attended one of two prevention programs when the children were in 6th grade, comparing their later methamphetamine use to a control group whose members did not attend the prevention sessions. A follow-up study was conducted when the students reached the 12th grade.

The NIDA report also drew conclusions from a second study involving 7th-graders, who also attended prevention programs and whose drug use was examined in either 11th or 12th grade.

In the first study, none of the students who attended the Iowa Strengthening Families Project as 6th graders had tried meth by the time the were seniors in high school, compared to 3.2 percent of the control group and 3.6 percent of the students who attended the Preparing for the Drug-Free Years program. In the second study, both interventions effectively reduced past-year and lifetime use of methamphetamine compared to the control group.

NIDA said that this was the first study to examine the effects of prevention on methamphetamine use among youth.

"We now have evidence that prevention programs can be important tools to protect adolescents from the devastating effects of methamphetamine use, and we will continue to explore the effectiveness of other drug-abuse prevention programs," said Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health.

The research was led by Richard Spoth of Iowa State University and published in the September 2006 issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine

Spoth, R. et. al. (2006) Long-term Effects of Universal Preventive Interventions on Methamphetamine Use Among Adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med., 160: 876-882.