Longitudinal effects of universal preventive intervention on prescription drug misuse: three randomized controlled trials with late adolescents and young adults

Am J Public Health. 2013 Apr;103(4):665-72. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.301209. Epub 2013 Feb 14.


Objectives: We examined long-term prescription drug misuse outcomes in 3 randomized controlled trials evaluating brief universal preventive interventions conducted during middle school.

Methods: In 3 studies, we tested the Iowa Strengthening Families Program (ISFP); evaluated a revised ISFP, the Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14 plus the school-based Life Skills Training (SFP 10-14 + LST); and examined the SFP 10-14 plus 1 of 3 school-based interventions. Self-reported outcomes were prescription opioid misuse (POM) and lifetime prescription drug misuse overall (PDMO).

Results: In study 1, ISFP showed significant effects on POM and PDMO, relative reduction rates (RRRs; age 25 years) of 65%, and comparable benefits for higher- and lower-risk subgroups. In study 2, SFP 10-14 + LST showed significant or marginally significant effects on POM and PDMO across all ages (21, 22, and 25 years); higher-risk participants showed stronger effects (RRRs = 32%-79%). In study 3, we found significant results for POM and PDMO (12th grade RRRs = 20%-21%); higher-risk and lower-risk participants showed comparable outcomes.

Conclusions: Brief universal interventions have potential for public health impact by reducing prescription drug misuse among adolescents and young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prescription Drug Misuse*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Young Adult