The effectiveness of a school-based substance abuse prevention program: 18-month follow-up of the EU-Dap cluster randomized controlled trial

Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Apr 1;108(1-2):56-64. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.11.018. Epub 2010 Jan 18.


Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based substance abuse prevention program developed in the EU-Dap study (EUropean Drug Addiction Prevention trial).

Materials and methods: Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial. Seven European countries participated in the study; 170 schools (7079 pupils 12-14 years of age) were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions or to a control condition during the school year 2004/2005. The program consisted of a 12-h curriculum based on a comprehensive social influence approach. A pre-test survey assessing past and current substance use was conducted before the implementation of the program, while a post-test survey was carried out about 18 months after the pre-test. The association between program condition and change in substance use at post-test was expressed as adjusted prevalence odds ratio (POR), estimated by multilevel regression models.

Results: Persisting beneficial program effects were found for episodes of drunkenness (any, POR=0.80; 0.67-0.97; frequent, POR=0.62; 0.47-0.81) and for frequent cannabis use in the past 30 days (POR=0.74; 0.53-1.00), whereas daily cigarette smoking was not affected by the program as it was at the short-term follow-up. Baseline non-smokers that participated in the program progressed in tobacco consumption to a lower extent than those in the control condition, but no difference was detected in the proportion of quitters or reducers among baseline daily smokers.

Conclusion: The experimental evaluation of an innovative school curriculum based on a comprehensive social influence approach, indicated persistent positive effects over 18 months for alcohol abuse and for cannabis use, but not for cigarette smoking.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Alcoholism / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Curriculum
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology
  • Marijuana Smoking / prevention & control
  • Models, Statistical
  • Odds Ratio
  • Schools*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Students
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Treatment Outcome