What You Need to Know
■ The Monitoring the Future Project surveys eighth-, tenth-, and twelfth-grade students every year to measure drug use. The results show that drug use is a complex phenomenon that varies by drug.
■ Trend data for drug use over time had been showing fairly consistent reductions in use, then some increase in use, but significant decreases for many drugs in data for the most recent year.
■ The relationship between drug use and delinquency is not entirely clear, with some studies showing that use precedes delinquency and others showing that delinquency precedes drug use. The actual relationship is probably a reciprocal one, with each behavior contributing to the other.
■ No one type of drug treatment is effective for every individual or every drug. Treatment needs to vary by the individual circumstances.
■ Gauging the effectiveness of drug treatment is very difficult due to the fact that most clients drop out before completion of treatment. What is clear is that treatment can be effective at reducing the need for and abuse of drugs.
■ The “Just Say No” approach to prevention is shortsighted and has failed to show any impact on drug use.
■ One positive approach is life skills training, which focuses on developing resistance skills for individuals. Evaluations show that this approach can be effective at curbing drug use.
■ The popular D.A.R.E. program has failed to have any impact on drug use or abuse. The program has been revised to focus on multiple problem behaviors.
■ Drug courts represent one of the more recent movements for addressing drug use and crime. These courts couple formal court action and intervention with individualized treatment plans involving the offender and his or her family.