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Youth Substance Use Prevention/Reduction Through Science-based Drug Abuse Education

This study has been completed.
Boston Public Schools
Information provided by:
Boston Children’s Hospital Identifier:
First received: January 29, 2008
Last updated: March 11, 2011
Last verified: March 2011
Our primary goal is to conduct a pilot study of the effects of a new potential strategy for youth substance abuse prevention - science-based drug education integrated into the high school science curriculum. Through this pilot study we propose to: (1) demonstrate that this new strategy shows promise, and (2) estimate the effect size for the intervention.

Condition Intervention Phase
Substance Abuse
Other: drug prevention curriculum
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Official Title: Youth Substance Use Prevention/Reduction Through Science-based Drug Abuse Education: A High School Pilot Study

Further study details as provided by Boston Children’s Hospital:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Lifetime, past 6 month and past 30 day use of substances [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, 6-7 month post-intervention ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Frequency and quantity of substance use [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, 6-7 months post-intervention ]
  • Knowledge about effects of substance use on the brain [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, 6-7 months post-intervention ]
  • Perceived risk of harm of substance use [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, 6-7 months post-intervention ]
  • Intention to use substances in the next 3 months [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, 6-7 months post-intervention ]

Enrollment: 225
Study Start Date: December 2006
Study Completion Date: January 2008
Primary Completion Date: January 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
No Intervention: 1
Participants in the "no intervention" condition will receive the usual high school science curriculum.
Experimental: 2
Participants in the "experimental" arm will receive the 5-lesson, science-based substance abuse prevention curriculum in their science classes.
Other: drug prevention curriculum
Participants in the "experimental" arm of the study will receive the 5-lesson, science-based drug prevention curriculum in their science classes.

Detailed Description:

NIDA, in recent years, has put resources into summarizing and synthesizing cutting-edge medical and basic science research discoveries about the short-term and long-term effects of drug use on the developing brain. One outcome of this results was the production of a science-based drug education program entitled "The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction." This is a 5-lesson module for high school science classes that teaches about brain structure and function, how drugs affect and change the biology and chemistry of the brain, how addiction occurs in the brain, and that addiction is a chronic, recurring disease. However, the effect of receipt of this program on students' substance use knowledge, attitudes, perceived risk of harm, and behavior has not been systematically evaluated to date.

The specific aims of this project are:

  1. To evaluate the effects of receipt of the curriculum on specific cognitive contributors to substance use including a)students' knowledge about the short- and long-term effects of substance use on the brain; b)perceived risk of harm from substance use; and c)intention to use substances in the next 3 months.
  2. To evaluate the effects of the intervention on actual substance use behavior. We hypothesize that the effectiveness of this approach may be modified by the students' level of prior and current substance use, with the effect being stronger among those who have not already initiated use, or among those who have very low use. Therefore, we will specifically examine whether the intervention a)prevents substance use initiation among students who had no previous use, b)stops use among students with low lifetime use, and c) reduces use among those with higher levels of use.

Ages Eligible for Study:   14 Years to 19 Years   (Child, Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Student in 9th/10th/11th grade science classes at Fenway High School at start of study or student in 11th grade science classes at Boston Arts Academy at start of study
  • Parental permission to participate

Exclusion Criteria:

  • No parental permission to participate
  • Unable to read English
  Contacts and Locations
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00612482

United States, Massachusetts
Children's Hospital Boston
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02115
Sponsors and Collaborators
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Public Schools
Principal Investigator: Sion Kim Harris, PhD Boston Children’s Hospital
  More Information

Additional Information:
Responsible Party: Sion Kim Harris, Children's Hospital Boston Identifier: NCT00612482     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 06120537
Study First Received: January 29, 2008
Last Updated: March 11, 2011

Keywords provided by Boston Children’s Hospital:
Substance abuse

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Substance-Related Disorders
Chemically-Induced Disorders
Mental Disorders processed this record on April 27, 2017