New research supported in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health, shows that prevention programs conducted in middle school can reduce methamphetamine abuse among rural adolescents years later. Because methamphetamine addiction leads to problems with social interactions and a wide range of medical conditions, research into early interventions such as this is critical to protecting the Nation's youth. The paper is published in the September issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
"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," says Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health. "These findings are part of our ongoing effort to support scientific research that can have practical applications in community settings."
"Previous preventive interventions have shown effects in reducing adolescents' abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, but this is the first study to examine the effects of a preventive intervention on methamphetamine abuse among youth," says NIDA Director Dr. Nora D. Volkow. "The results of this research indicate the effectiveness of prevention programs on lifetime or annual methamphetamine abuse."
The research assessed the effects of two randomized, controlled, prevention trials on methamphetamine abuse among middle and high school students. In the first study, 667 families of rural Iowa 6th-graders were randomly assigned to participate in one of two family-focused interventions, the Iowa Strengthening Families Project (ISFP) or the Preparing for the Drug Free Years (PDFY) program, or act as controls. A total of 457 families participated in the 12th-grade follow-up.