Thursday, November 13, 2014

Preventing teen marijuana use: What works

What programs are most effective for preventing teen marijuana use?  That question is being studied by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) which recently released an updated review of scientific evidence about prevention programs.  They reviewed 23 youth marijuana prevention and treatment programs  and categorized them as "evidence-based", "research-based", or "promising."  

The top ten prevention programs identified by WSIPP are:

  1. Life Skills Training
  2. Communities That Care
  3. Project STAR
  4. Lions Quest Skills for Adolescence
  5. SPORT
  6. Keepin’ it REAL
  7. Strengthening Families for Parents and Youth 10-14
  8. Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care
  9. Case management in schools
  10. Project Northland
Detailed information about these programs may be found on the National Registry for Evidence-based Programs and Practices website.  

While WASAVP advocates for the funding of these programs, the WSIPP list does not include policies proven to reduce youth access to drugs which is the focus of most of WASAVP's work.  The Guide to Community Preventive Services is the place to start to gain an understanding of public policies that prevent youth alcohol and tobacco use.  Among effective policies are those that limit the density of retailers that sell alcohol and tobacco, the enforcement of minor in possession laws, and taxes.  

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