| What Kids Think
In 2001, HealthSim completed a year-long evaluation of the relative efficacy of its multimedia prevention program compared to other drug abuse prevention curricula in a school-based, controlled evaluation across several middle schools. Students in several schools received drug abuse prevention training via the computer-based prevention program over the course of about 15 sessions during the school year. Students in other schools received drug abuse prevention training via the Life Skills Training Program, a drug abuse prevention program that has been repeatedly shown to be efficacious. In accordance with standard Life Skills Training procedures, students in this condition completed training with this program over the course of approximately 15 sessions conducted during the school year by teachers who had been trained by Life Skills training specialists to teach the curriculum to middle school-aged youth. Students in all schools completed a battery of questionnaires both before and after their prevention training.
Results from this multi-site, school-based study demonstrate that, although
students in both groups showed marked increases in knowledge about drug
abuse prevention after their intervention, those in the computer group had
significantly higher percent accuracy (77%) on this measure after their
training compared to those in the Life Skills group (64%). Students in both
groups also showed marked decreases on a variety of measures of intentions
to use drugs.
Additionally, teachers using the computer program reported that they thought the computer program was highly useful in providing drug abuse prevention in the classroom. For example, one teacher said "I liked the fact that I could help out individual students while others were
working. I liked being able to have students move along at their own rate". One teacher who used Life Skills said "I don't feel that Life Skills should be the only drug prevention program used in schools. I was frustrated that the Life Skills trainers told us that the curriculum must be implemented exactly the way they required because this is not always practical to do given other demands on our time in the classroom". Moreover, a cost-effectiveness analysis indicated that the cost of delivering the computer-based prevention program was approximately half the cost of the delivering the Life Skills intervention.