Studies indicate that adolescent-onset drug users experience a greater likelihood of dependence that continues into adulthood. The importance of early intervention was evident in treating adolescents before their substance use progressed. We examined the effectiveness of an intervention program that prevents students who experiment with drugs from reusing them.
The study was based on 10 out of 18 invited schools that were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (5 schools, n = 43) or the comparison group (5 schools, n = 41). The intervention group received an E-course program that comprised a main intervention course (12 sessions) and a booster course (2 sessions). By reducing the burden of teaching content during the 14 sessions, the in-class counselor had opportunities for face-to-face discussions with students on their ambivalence toward quitting illegal drugs. The comparison group received the conventional didactic drug prevention course (2 sessions). Outcomes in terms of stress management, refusal skills, pros of drug use, cons of drug use, and drug use resistance self-efficacy were measured via structured questionnaires conducted thrice: at baseline, after the main intervention sessions, and after the booster sessions. A linear mixed model (LMM) was employed to investigate the effects of time and groups on the outcome variables with group, time, and group × time as fixed effects. Subjects and schools were selected as random effects in order to consider both within-subject and within-school correlations.
There was a significant group × time interaction with regard to stress management, refusal skills, pros of drug use, and drug use resistance self-efficacy, excluding cons of drug use. The intervention group displayed better stress management compared to the comparison group after the booster intervention. Similar between-group differences were identified in that the intervention group displayed better refusal skills and drug use resistance self-efficacy compared to that of the comparison group. The intervention group favored using drugs less (a decrease in the pros of drug use score) compared to the comparison group after the booster intervention.
Our program provided an example of the results of early intervention among students who experiment with illegal drugs.