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Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us
tion activities are based on the expectation that altering one or more of these factors will result in reduced substance use (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, 1999; U.S. Department of Education, 1999). A wide assortment of modalities, delivery schedules, and targeting mechanisms are used to alter these factors. The following paragraphs describe some of the more common prevention modalities in use today. Based on a taxonomy for a recent national study of delinquency prevention in schools (Gottfredson et al., 2000), these modalities are neither exhaustive nor evaluative, but instead are intended to provide a sense for the variety of different activities that can be and are undertaken for the purpose of preventing subsequent substance use.
Mass media campaigns. These efforts are most often aimed at changing norms regarding drug use by demonstrating negative consequences for use, positive consequences for nonuse, changing opinions about the prevalence of use or the types of people who use, and increasing skills for resisting drugs. Media avenues might include the use of billboards, newspapers, radio, and television, as well as collaborations with the entertainment industry, music videos, and interactive media. The ongoing National Youth Anti-Drug Campaign of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is an example of such a media campaign implemented at the national level. Reducing pro-drug media messages is also included in this category of prevention activity.
Community organizing and coalitions. These efforts require collaboration among several community entities to develop community-wide strategies for reducing substance use. They generally involve representatives from community agencies working together to specify goals for reducing substance use, develop collaborative strategies for reaching those goals, and implement those strategies over a period of several years. Often, these community planning groups are more grassroots in nature, involving and empowering community residents in addition to professional staff. Well-known examples of this type of strategy include Project STAR (Pentz et al., 1989) and Project Northland (Perry et al., 1996).
Family training, counseling, and case management. This category includes efforts to alter family management practices or to build parenting skills in general through instruction or training. These activities often teach parents skills for monitoring or supervising their children, increasing emotional attachments, helping their children succeed in school, or otherwise assisting their children in the development of skills and competencies that will be needed to avoid substance use. An example is the Strengthening Families Program (Kumpfer et al., 1996). Family therapy often focuses on building the same skills, but it is generally more intensive than parent training activities and usually involves high-risk adolescents and their