A Latent Class Analysis of Prevention Approaches Used to Reduce Community-Level Prescription Drug Misuse in Adolescents and Young Adults

J Prim Prev. 2021 Jun;42(3):279-296. doi: 10.1007/s10935-021-00631-6. Epub 2021 Apr 3.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success (PFS) program supports community-based organizations (CBOs) across the United States in implementing evidence-based prevention interventions to reduce substance use in adolescents and young adults. Little attention has been paid to how CBOs combine interventions to create comprehensive community-specific prevention approaches, or whether different approaches achieve similar community-level effects on prescription drug misuse (PDM). We used PFS evaluation data to address these gaps. Over 200 CBOs reported their prevention intervention characteristics, including strategy type (e.g., prevention education, environmental strategies) and number of unique interventions. Evaluation staff coded whether each intervention was an evidence-based program, practice, or policy (EBPPP). Latent Class Analysis of seven characteristics (use of each of five strategy types, use of one or more EBPPP, and number of interventions implemented) identified six prevention approach profiles: High Implementation EBPPP, Media Campaigns, Environmental EBPPP, High Implementation Non-EBPPP, Prevention Education, and Other Information Dissemination. All approaches except Media Campaigns and Other Information Dissemination were associated with significant reductions in community-level PDM. These approaches may need to be paired with other, more direct, prevention activities to effectively reduce PDM at the community level. However, similar rates of change in PDM across all 6 prevention approaches suggests only weak evidence favoring use of the other four approaches. Community-based evaluations that account for variability in implemented prevention approaches may provide a more nuanced understanding of community-level effects. Additional work is needed to help CBOs identify the most appropriate approach to use based on their target communities' characteristics and resources.

Keywords: Adolescents; Community-based prevention; Intervention approaches; Latent class analysis; Prescription drug misuse; Young adults.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Humans
  • Latent Class Analysis
  • Prescription Drug Misuse* / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / prevention & control
  • United States
  • Young Adult