Intermediate Outcomes from a Life Skills Education
Program with a Media Literacy Component
The Urban Institute
EVALUATIONS OF DRUG EDUCATION PROGRAMS
HAVE BECOME IMPORTANT
Teenage drug usage remains a serious problem in the United States, despite efforts by public policymakers, health officials, educators, and prevention scientists to reduce it. Against the backdrop of a generalized decline in cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and substance usage in the U. S. population since the 1960s and 1970s, adolescent substance use appears to have stabilized at relatively high rates (Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS], 2000; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 1999). National data from the 1999 Monitoring the Future (MTF) surveys show that almost 35% of 12th and 18% of 8th graders smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days, with more than 3% of 8th graders smoking at least one-half pack a day; 51% of 12th and 24% of 8th graders reported alcohol use in the last 30 days, with about 31% and 15%, respectively, reporting binge drinking (5+ drinks a day) in the last 14 days; 23.1% of senior and 9.7% of junior high students had used marijuana in the last month; and 2.6% of the older and 1.3% of the younger students had used cocaine in the last month (National Institute of Drug Abuse [NIDA], 1999). Moreover, MTF data point to a worrisome upsurge in almost all categories of substance use among 8th graders between 1994 and 1999: 30-Day prevalence rates are up about 3% for cigarettes, 2% for binge drinking, 6.5% for marijuana use, and 1% for cocaine use (NIDA, 1999).