Intervening early to reduce developmentally harmful substance use among youth populations

Vania Modesto-Lowe, Nancy M Petry and Melissa McCartney
Med J Aust 2008; 188 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2008.tb01738.x
Published online: 21 April 2008

To the Editor: According to a recent article in the Journal, the pervasive nature of under-age drinking underscores the need to develop prevention strategies to delay the onset of alcohol use and its adverse consequences.1 In the United States, school-based prevention programs have played a prominent role in the alcohol-use prevention scene. Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE), the most widely recognised school-based alcohol-use prevention effort, is an elementary school curriculum that focuses on the adverse effects of substances of misuse, and the development of skills to resist peer pressure to use. Despite its nationwide appeal, attempts to empirically evaluate the efficacy of DARE have failed to yield positive results.2

  • 1 School of Medicine, University of Connecticut, Farmington, Conn, USA.
  • 2 Addiction Services, Connecticut Valley Hospital, Middletown, Conn, USA.
  • 3 Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Conn, USA.

  • 1. Lubman DI, Hides L, Yücel M, Tomobourou JW. Intervening early to reduce developmentally harmful substance use among youth populations. Med J Aust 2007; 187 (7 Suppl): S22-S25. <MJA full text>
  • 2. Clayton RR, Cattarello AM, Johnstone BM. The effectiveness of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (project DARE): 5-year follow-up results. Prev Med 1996; 25: 307-318.
  • 3. Bell ML, Kelley-Baker T, Rider R, et al. Protecting You/Protecting Me: effects of an alcohol prevention and vehicle safety program on elementary students. J Sch Health 2005; 75: 171-177.
  • 4. Komro KA, Toomey TL. Strategies to prevent underage drinking. Alcohol Res Health 2002; 26: 5-14.


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