For those who have never had a drug problem, it is often hard to understand why it becomes a deadly habit. Teens that engage in this risky behavior are more likely to suffer long-term consequences, but new research highlights the positive impact of drug education programs.
According to a recent report in Science Daily, a school-based drug education program for teens – Project ALERT – can have a long-term positive impact on sexual behavior. This benefit is in addition to the program’s ability to curb substance abuse.
Researchers of a new RAND Corporation study found that those youth who were exposed to this drug abuse education program were significantly less likely to either engage in sex with multiple partners or to have unprotected sex due to being under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Phyllis Ellickson, lead author of the study and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, noted that the lessons learned by these young people about how to avoid drug and alcohol abuse also appears to have a positive impact on their sexual behavior.
While this research showed there was a reduction in risky behavior among teens, it did not seem to have an impact on the use of safe sex methods. Those teens who had received the drug prevention training were no more likely to use condoms than their peers who had not received the training.
Ellickson pointed to the benefits that programs such as Project ALERT deliver beyond drug use prevention. The fact that these benefits continued for many years beyond exposure to the programs highlights their effectiveness.
Ellickson said in Science Daily, “The findings support the case for the cost-effectiveness of the basic Project ALERT program by showing it provides benefits for two different types of risky behaviors and by showing that those benefits are long lasting.”