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Teen drug education also helps curb risky sexual behavior, study finds
Date:4/29/2009

r was common among the study participants, such behavior was less prevalent among those exposed to Project ALERT.

Young adults exposed to Project ALERT were both less likely to have sex with multiple partners (44 percent versus 50 percent) and to have unprotected sex because of drug use (27 percent versus 32 percent) than their peers who had not been exposed to the program.

About 71 percent of study participants reported inconsistent use of condoms, regardless of whether they had been exposed to Project ALERT.

Researchers say that part of the differences between the two groups may be due to the lower use of drugs and alcohol among those exposed to Project ALERT since the behavior is linked to risky sexual practices. But the differences in sexual behavior between the two groups were not entirely explained by the lower substance use levels.

"Although the effects we found are somewhat modest, these findings show that the benefits of drug abuse prevention programs are not confined to drug use alone and can continue for many years after young people receive the instruction," Ellickson said.

The study found no significant difference in risky sexual behavior between study participants who received the basic Project ALERT lessons in middle school and those who also received extended Project ALERT lessons during ninth and 10th grades.

Ellickson said the study findings are particularly relevant for school officials across the nation who are facing significant budget cuts in the months ahead.

"The findings support the case for the cost-effectiveness of the basic Project ALERT program by showing it provides benefits for two different types of risky behaviors and by showing that those benefits are long lasting," Ellickson said.


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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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