Too Good for Drugs—Middle School

Program Goals
Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) for middle school students is a school-based drug prevention program designed to reduce students' intention to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, while promoting prosocial attitudes, skills and behaviors. The program seeks to build the self-confidence of students so they are better able to make healthy choices and achieve success. Although there are different objectives across grade levels, promoting positive, prosocial attitudes, and fostering healthy relationships is a running theme throughout the program’s curriculum. Overall, TGFD seeks to develop positive peer norms; appropriate attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use; personal and interpersonal skills relating to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use; and knowledge of the negative consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and the benefits of a drug-free lifestyle.

Program Theory
The TGFD program uses the social influence model and the cognitive–behavioral model as its framework for the prevention program. In developing the program, the Mendez Foundation sought to develop the skills of students so that they are better able to resist peer pressure and make responsible, healthy decisions. TGFD uses a developmentally appropriate curriculum that specifically emphasizes five social and emotional learning skills that have been shown to promote healthy development and academic success:

  1. goal setting
  2. decision making
  3. bonding with pro-social others
  4. identifying and managing emotions
  5. communicating effectively with others (Mendez Foundation 2013; Bacon, Hall, and Ferron 2013).

Program Components
As a long-term prevention program, the TGFD middle school curriculum builds on the curriculum in the previous grade level, requiring students to develop skills and use these skills year after year. The curriculum takes a direct approach to drug and alcohol prevention, by addressing the environmental and developmental risk factors related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. During middle school, TGFD teaches students to develop and achieve more complex goals, while simultaneously developing and practicing strong decision-making and effective communication skills. Moreover, during the middle school years, the program seeks to discuss various drug topics with students so they are well equipped to resist drugs in the face of peer pressure and media influence. The middle school curriculum typically consists of 10 lessons:

  1. goal setting
  2. decision-making
  3. identifying and managing emotions
  4. effective communication
  5. bonding and relationships
  6. the effects and consequences of alcohol use
  7. the effects and consequences of tobacco use
  8. the effects and consequences of marijuana use
  9. inhalants and street drugs
  10. course review

The lessons are delivered once a week and are highly interactive so students have the opportunity to participate, receive recognition for their participation, and learn from participation. Each lesson promotes the opportunity for cooperative learning, role play, small group activity, games, class discussions, and skill-building exercises.

Intervention ID
352
Ages

9 to 13

Rating
Promising
Outcomes

The results from both studies showed mixed effects for the Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) program. The 2013 study by Bacon, Hall, and Ferron showed the program affected middle school students’ use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD). Further, the TGFD program also affected important risk and protective factors associated with resiliency to ATOD use. The 2000 study by Bacon showed that the program impacted students’ intent to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, although these results faded at the 20-week follow-up period. Overall, the preponderance of evidence from both studies indicates that the TGFD program has a marginal, yet positive, impact on students’ ATOD use and the risk and protective factors associated with ATOD use.

Study 1
ATOD Use
Smoking Past 30 Days
Bacon, Hall, and Ferron (2013) found that participating in the TGFD program appears to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ tobacco use. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less tobacco use than did high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Drink Past 30 Days
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ alcohol consumption. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less alcohol consumption than did high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Binge Drinking
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ binge drinking. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less binge drinking than did high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Marijuana Use Past 30 Days
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ marijuana use. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less marijuana use than high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Risk and Projective Factors Associated With ATOD Use
Intent to Use ATOD
Bacon (2003) found that participating in the TGFD program appears to have a statistically significant impact on students’ intent to use ATOD. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed less intent to use ATOD than those in the control group.

ATOD Attitudes
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on students’ attitudes toward ATOD. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed more negative attitudes toward ATOD than did those in the control group.

Harmful Effects
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on students’ knowledge about the harmful effects of drugs. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed more knowledge of the harmful effects of drugs than did those in the control group.

Peer Resistance
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on students’ ability to resist peer pressure. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed a greater ability to resist peer pressure than those in the control group.

Goals and Decisions
The TGFD program was not found to affect students’ ability to make decisions or set goals. Limited to no differences were found between students in the treatment and control groups.

Study 2
Intent to Smoke Cigarettes
Bacon (2000) found that the TGFD program had a significant impact on students’ intent to smoke cigarettes. Students in the treatment group reported less intent to smoke than students in the control group at posttest; however, this difference decreased at the 20-week follow-up posttest.

Intent to Drink Alcohol
The TGFD program was found to have a significant impact on students’ intent to drink alcohol. Students in the treatment group reported less intent to drink alcohol than did students in the control group at posttest; however, this difference decreased at the 20-week follow-up posttest.

Intent to Smoke Marijuana
Mixed results were found for the program’s impact on intent to smoke marijuana. At posttest, students in the control group reported less intent to smoke marijuana than did students in the treatment group; however, this changed at the 20-week follow-up. At the 20-week follow-up, students in the treatment group reported less intent to smoke marijuana than those in the control; however, this difference was marginal.

Risk and Protective Factors
The TGFD program had a significant positive impact on resistance skills, attitudes toward use, perceived peer norms, peer approval of use, prosocial peer group, and locus of control, as students in the treatment group reported more positive effects than those in the control group at posttest; however, these differences decreased by the 20-week follow-up period.

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