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New NIDA Study Supports

New NIDA Study Supports, “Friends Don’t Let Friends…” Theme

Coalitions are very familiar with the realities of peer pressure and how it can lead teens to misuse alcohol and other drugs. That silent pressure to conform, in conjunction with imagined consequences of standing out, leads some young people to make poor choices.

A recently-released National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study

indicates that peer pressure does not have to lead to negative consequences! The study found that participation in the Strengthening Families Program for Youth 10-14 (SFP10-14) had a ripple effect by reducing substance use not only among program participants but among their friends, too. SFP10-14 Basics.

“Parents want to protect their children, but it’s challenging. Youth need skills to help them resist the peer pressure that leads to risky behaviors.

Researchshows that protective parenting improves family relationships

and decreases the level of family conflict, contributing to lower levels of substance use,” says the Strengthening Families Program website.

The SFP10-14 addresses all these issues through its seven-week, interactive program where parents and their 10-14 year-old children participate in separate and joint activities. The SPF10-14 curriculum notes that it is designed to:

  • Help parents/caregivers

learn nurturing skills that support their children

  • Teach parents/caregivers how to effectively discipline and guide their youth
  • Give youth a healthy future orientation and an increased appreciation of their parents/caregivers
  • Teach youth skills for dealing with stress and peer pressure

Why this Age Group is Important


Coalitions know that pre-teen and teen substance misuse is of great concern, and while the numbers are going in the right direction, there is

always a new group of young people reaching that critical age of experimentation. As such, we always have work to do.

 Approximately 3 percent of eighth-graders reported binge-drinking, or

consuming five or more drinks in the past two weeks according to the latest Monitoring the Future study.

Twenty-two percent of eighth-graders reported ever trying alcohol while 61 percent of 12th-graders reported lifetime use. Among eighth

-graders, there was a significant increase in synthetic cathinones (bath salts), from 0.4 percent in 2015 to 0.9 percent in 2016.

Reaching young people before they start down this path is important, and coalitions understand the value of message development and delivery that must come from a variety of sources in order for understanding and action to take hold. Thus, young people as we all do, adapt new behaviors based on feedback from parents, teachers, health care professionals, community leaders and our peers.

The NIDA SFP10-14 Study

This new NIDA studylooks at the impact of peer-to-peer influence resulting from participation in the SFP10-14 program.

“The researchers’ analysis revealed that the benefits of SFP10-14

spread from participants to their friends. The more participant friends a non-participant had, the less likely he or she was to engage in substance

use in the years followingthe intervention.”

During the course of the study, researchers elicited the names of up to seven non-participating peers in the same grade as the participants. After a three-year follow-up, non-participating students who had three or more participant friends used less alcohol, tobacco and other drugs as compared to those students who did not have friends who had participated in SFP10-14.

 Here’s what the smoking data looks like:

Two mediating factors accounted for most of the indirect benefit experienced by the SFP10-14 nonparticipants. Most influential was the amount of time that they spent “hanging out” with friends without adult supervision.  “Multiple mechanisms for this result are possible, but it’s most likely that SFP10 -14 changed participating parents’supervision practices,” says Dr. Kelly Rulison, co-author of the study.

“Parents who participated in the intervention tend to supervise their adolescents closely. Non-participating teens who spend time with friends

who participate receive indirect supervision from their friends’ parents, regardless of how much their own parents supervise them.”

“Changing individual attitudes could lead to a sustained school or community-wide change in norms, even if many of the original program participants move away,” says Rulison. “Intervention developers should target factors, such as peer attitudes and unstructured socializing that might facilitate diffusion; some programs already do so by specifically training student leaders to spread intervention messages.”

Source:  Prevention News news@cadca.org   Jan.2017