Best Practices

Safe Drug Free Schools

According to the "Marijuana and Learning" outreach effort, launched by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2002 research shows that:


  • Teens with an average grade of "D" or below are more than four times more likely to have used marijuana in the past year than youth who reported an average grade of "A".
  • The more a student abuses substances, the lower his or her grade point average is likely to be. In fact, teenagers who drink underage or use drugs are up to five times more likely than their peers to drop out of high school.


The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reveals that almost four million youths aged 12 to 17 (16 percent) had used marijuana at least once in the past year. While there has been an 11 percent decrease in marijuana use, according to the 2003 Monitoring the Future survey, NSDUH findings show almost 14 percent of youths who bought marijuana did so on school property.


Evidence-Based Programs


Recommended Strategies

The US Department of Education adopted the following "Principals of Effectiveness" in 1998, which typify the recommended framework for planning and implementing effective strategies to prevent substance abuse and violence among youth. Programs should:


(A) be based on an assessment of objective data regarding the incidence of violence and illegal drug use in the elementary schools and secondary schools and communities to be served, including an objective analysis of the current conditions and consequences regarding violence and illegal drug use, including delinquency and serious discipline problems, among students who attend such schools (including private school students who participate in the drug and violence prevention program) that is based on ongoing local assessment or evaluation activities;


(B) be based on an established set of performance measures aimed at ensuring that the elementary schools and secondary schools and communities to be served by the program have a safe, orderly, and drug-free learning environment;


(C) be based on scientifically based research that provides evidence that the program to be used will reduce violence and illegal drug use;


(D) be based on an analysis of the data reasonably available at the time, of the prevalence of risk factors, including high or increasing rates of reported cases of child abuse and domestic violence; protective factors, buffers, assets; or other variables in schools and communities in the State identified through scientifically based research; and


(E) include meaningful and ongoing consultation with and input from parents in the development of the application and administration of the program or activity.




(A) The program or activity should undergo a periodic evaluation to assess its progress toward reducing violence and illegal drug use in schools to be served based on the identified performance measures.


(B) The results should be used to refine, improve, and strengthen the program, and to refine the performance measures, and should also be made available to the public upon request, with public notice of such availability provided.


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