07. School based drug prevention: a systematic review of the effectiveness on illicit drug use

This Monograph (No. 07) outlines a systematic review of school based drug education. Whilst the Griffith team started with the broad brief of prevention, it became clear that a focus on school based drug education would be most useful, particularly as a systematic review in relation to its impact on illicit drugs had not been previously conducted. The review identified 58 relevant studies, and both a qualitative (narrative) and quantitative (meta-analytic) review was undertaken.

Those programs demonstrating most effectiveness were social influence and competency enhancement programs. Less promising and iatrogenic effects were found for affective education and knowledge dissemination. In contrast to previous research on school based drug education, this review found that professionals were less effective than teachers, that multifaceted programs did not demonstrate substantially greater efficacy; and involvement of peers or booster session had minimal impact. Programs with a greater number of sessions were more effective, and interactive programs were associated with greater effectiveness.