Stages and Pathways of Drug Involvement: Examining the Gateway Hypothesis

By Denise B. Kandel | Go to book overview

6
Preventing the Onset and
Developmental Progression of
Adolescent Drug Use

Implications for the Gateway Hypothesis
Gilbert J. Botvin, Lawrence M. Scheier,
and Kenneth W. Griffin

Efforts to combat the problem of drug abuse have involved a combination of strategies including education, treatment, law enforcement, and mass media campaigns. Among these, approaches intended to prevent the onset and developmental progression of drug use among adolescents have received considerable attention in recent years. A particularly fruitful area of research has involved the development and testing of schoolbased prevention approaches targeting youth during the early adolescent years. This research has demonstrated that at least some approaches to drug abuse prevention can produce substantial reductions in the incidence and prevalence of adolescent drug use. Moreover, this research clearly indicates that ongoing intervention during junior high school can result in durable prevention effects that last at least until the end of high school. Finally, the effectiveness of school-based prevention approaches has been demonstrated for a relatively broad range of students including White, suburban youth, and inner-city minority youth.

A necessary precondition for the development of effective prevention approaches is an understanding of both the causes of drug use and its developmental progression. Together they provide essential information concerning the nature and timing of preventive interventions. Research delineating the etiologic determinants of adolescent drug use has highlighted the importance of an array of interpersonal and intrapersonal factors for promoting and sustaining drug use and has provided guidance to program developers concerning the appropriate focus of preventive interventions. The growing body of etiologic evidence deriving from longitudinal research has led to a realignment of prevention objectives, away from an emphasis on knowledge concerning the adverse consequences of

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