An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty: The Cost-Effectiveness of School-Based Drug Prevention Programs

An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty: The Cost-Effectiveness of School-Based Drug Prevention Programs

An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty: The Cost-Effectiveness of School-Based Drug Prevention Programs

An Ounce of Prevention, a Pound of Uncertainty: The Cost-Effectiveness of School-Based Drug Prevention Programs

Synopsis

In the war on drugs, children are on the front lines. Is just saying no protection enough? The authors examine the results of popular school drug prevention programs to determine how effective they are at reducing cocaine use and whether these programs are money well spent, when compared with drug-enforcement or drug-treatment programs.

Excerpt

Cost-effectiveness at reducing cocaine consumption

We have now developed an estimate of the effectiveness of schoolbased prevention programs at reducing cocaine consumption. the estimate has been discounted to reflect the time value of money and accounts for effects on people other than program participants. It allows for the possibilities that a key correlation may not be causal and that effectiveness may be lost on scale-up.

To estimate cost-effectiveness, the only thing remaining is to divide effectiveness by cost to determine kilograms of cocaine consumption averted per million program dollars spent. That is what we accomplish in this chapter. We begin by deciding what sorts of costs to include and estimate those costs for our model school-based prevention program. We then perform the division required to obtain costeffectiveness and compare this estimate with those obtained previously for other drug control approaches. Uncertainty remains an important aspect of our analysis. Therefore, we compare uncertainties of estimates across approaches and examine the sources of uncertainty for the current estimate. Finally, we consider the variation of cost-effectiveness with the passage of time.

Defining program cost

While the scientific literature on drug use prevention has contributed greatly to our understanding of the relative effectiveness of different approaches, it is uniformly lacking in one element essential for policy formulation: cost data (Lipsey, 1997). the published evaluations of . . .

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