Breadth of Program and Outcome Effectiveness in Drug Abuse Prevention

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Educational Methods | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Substance Abuse and Addiction


The most popular school programs for tobacco and other drug abuse prevention address a variety of substances from tobacco to alcohol to other drugs. It is not uncommon for the same school program to address an even broader range of health and social objectives including exercise and nutrition promotion, pregnancy and HIV prevention, and violence prevention. In this article, the authors address the question of whether it is more effective to target a narrow range of objectives (e.g., smoking prevention) or a wider range of related behaviors (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, and other drug abuse). First, they consider a range of assumptions about effectiveness including definition of program effectiveness, issues regarding program acceptance and maintenance, and the objectives of sponsoring agencies. Next, they present the arguments for broad and narrowly focused programs and present comparative data from broadly and narrowly targeted programs. Finally, they suggest strategies for program developers and implementers to consider in making decisions about breadth of objectives. They recommend that future research address these behavioral and policy issues directly.

Rights Information

© 1996 Sage Publications, Inc.