SANTA MONICA (CBS) — A voluntary substance prevention program held after school and presented by trained facilitators can help reduce alcohol use among young adolescents, according to a new study.

The study, led by Santa Monica-based RAND Corp., was  based on the CHOICE program, which is made up of five 30-minute classes.

“There are many mandatory school-based programs aimed at preventing youth alcohol and drug use, but voluntary after-school models are less common,” according to RAND psychologist Elizabeth D’Amico.

The study focused on alcohol, the mostly widely abused substance among middle school students.

Earlier research showed that nearly half of all eighth-graders report having drunk alcohol at some point, according to RAND. Among CHOICE participants, one in 15 was prevented “from initiating alcohol use during this time period,” D’Amico said.

“Overall, results of the study were modest and additional research in this area is definitely needed. But our findings suggest that adolescents will voluntarily attend an after-school program that specifically provides information on alcohol and drugs, and that his type of program can reduce alcohol use at the school level,” D’Amico said.

The study was published online in the Journal: Prevention Science


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