This curriculum-based program is designed to be administered by teachers. Program materials include a teacher’s manual, student workbooks, and supplementary teaching tools. A Spanish language version of the program is available.
The program involves 12 x 45-minute lessons with an interactive format incorporating group discussions, games, role-playing, and student worksheets. The program was designed to be implemented over a four-week period, but can also be implemented over six weeks.
Project TND is a classroom-based prevention program that focuses on three factors predictive of tobacco, alcohol, other drug use, and problem behaviors in youth:
- Motivation factors (i.e., students' attitudes, beliefs, expectations, and desires regarding drug use)
- Skills (effective communication, social self-control, and coping skills)
- Decision-making (i.e., how to make decisions that lead to health-promoting behaviors).
The program makes use of interactive teaching techniques to provide students with information about the consequences of drug use, coping skills enhancement, correction of misperceptions about drug use, and motivation enhancement activities. Project TND was originally developed for students in high-risk high schools; however it has also been evaluated in regular high schools. Please note that some of the content (e.g., help-seeking toolkit) will need modification to suit implementation in Australia.
- Reduced alcohol use (short-term)
- Reduced tobaccol use (short-term)
- Reduced ”hard drug” use* at short and long-term follow up (4-5 years).
*encompassing cocaine, inhalants, stimulants, ecstasy, depressants, heroin and steroids.
The most relevant studies evaluating the program are listed below; for a full list see Project TND Evaluation studies. Benefits of the program have not yet been evaluated in an Australian sample. The effectiveness of implementing the program without specialist training is not yet known, as all the studies listed below incorporated at least a one-day training workshop.
Sussman, S., Sun, P., Rohrbach, L. A., & Spruijt-Metz, D. (2012). One-year outcomes of a drug abuse prevention program for older teens and emerging adults: Evaluating a motivational interviewing booster component. Health Psychology, 31, 476-485.
Rohrbach, L. A., Gunning, M., Sun, P., & Sussman, S. (2010). The Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) Dissemination Trial: Implementation Fidelity and Immediate Outcomes. Prevention Science, 11, 77-88.
Valente, T. W., Ritt-Olson, A., Stacy, A., Unger, J. B., Okamoto, J., & Sussman, S. (2007). Peer acceleration: effects of a social network tailored substance abuse prevention program among high-risk adolescents. Addiction, 102, 1804-1815.
*Note: In this study benefits were only observed in an enhanced version of Project TND which involved additional group interaction. This version of the program reduced substance use for students who had peer networks with low substance use. However students with friends who reported substance use were likely to increase use.
Sun, W., Skara, S., Sun, P., Dent, C. W., & Sussman, S. (2006). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: Long-term substance use outcomes evaluation. Prev Med, 42, 188-192.
Dent, C. W., Sussman, S., & Stacy, A. W. (2001). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: generalizability to a general high school sample. Preventive Medicine, 32, 514-520.
The benefits of Project TND have varied from trial to trial. The most consistent benefits are for “hard drug” use (encompassing cocaine, inhalants, stimulants, ecstasy, depressants, heroin and steroids), which have been observed in 7 studies and appear to be maintained long-term (up to 5 years). Reductions in alcohol and tobacco use were observed less consistently. There was evidence in one study that an interactive version of the program may increase substance use in students with substance using friends. A critical review of past research analysing the program's effectiveness has concluded there is little evidence to support its efficacy. See the paper below for full details:
Gorman, D. M. (2014). Is Project Towards No Drug Abuse (Project TND) an evidence-based drug and violence prevention program? A review and reappraisal of the evaluation studies. The journal of primary prevention, 35, 217-232.
However, one study provides important insight into the impact of contextual and provider-level factors influencing implementation fidelity. These effects should be considered in evaluations of program effectiveness. See the paper below for full details:
Little, M. A., Sussman, S., Sun, P., & Rohrbach, L. A. (2013). The effects of implementation fidelity in the Towards No Drug Abuse dissemination trial. Health Education, 113, 281-296.
Project TND is included in SAMSHA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (USA).