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Program Profile: Too Good for Drugs - Middle School

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on March 31, 2014

Program Summary

A school-based drug prevention program designed to reduce students’ intention to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, while promoting prosocial attitudes, skills, and behaviors.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals
Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) for middle school students is a school-based drug prevention program designed to reduce students' intention to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs, while promoting prosocial attitudes, skills and behaviors. The program seeks to build the self-confidence of students so they are better able to make healthy choices and achieve success. Although there are different objectives across grade levels, promoting positive, prosocial attitudes, and fostering healthy relationships is a running theme throughout the program’s curriculum. Overall, TGFD seeks to develop positive peer norms; appropriate attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use; personal and interpersonal skills relating to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use; and knowledge of the negative consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and the benefits of a drug-free lifestyle.

Program Theory
The TGFD program uses the social influence model and the cognitive–behavioral model as its framework for the prevention program. In developing the program, the Mendez Foundation sought to develop the skills of students so that they are better able to resist peer pressure and make responsible, healthy decisions. TGFD uses a developmentally appropriate curriculum that specifically emphasizes five social and emotional learning skills that have been shown to promote healthy development and academic success:

  1. goal setting
  2. decision making
  3. bonding with pro-social others
  4. identifying and managing emotions
  5. communicating effectively with others (Mendez Foundation 2013; Bacon, Hall, and Ferron 2013).

Program Components
As a long-term prevention program, the TGFD middle school curriculum builds on the curriculum in the previous grade level, requiring students to develop skills and use these skills year after year. The curriculum takes a direct approach to drug and alcohol prevention, by addressing the environmental and developmental risk factors related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. During middle school, TGFD teaches students to develop and achieve more complex goals, while simultaneously developing and practicing strong decision-making and effective communication skills. Moreover, during the middle school years, the program seeks to discuss various drug topics with students so they are well equipped to resist drugs in the face of peer pressure and media influence. The middle school curriculum typically consists of 10 lessons:

  1. goal setting
  2. decision-making
  3. identifying and managing emotions
  4. effective communication
  5. bonding and relationships
  6. the effects and consequences of alcohol use
  7. the effects and consequences of tobacco use
  8. the effects and consequences of marijuana use
  9. inhalants and street drugs
  10. course review

The lessons are delivered once a week and are highly interactive so students have the opportunity to participate, receive recognition for their participation, and learn from participation. Each lesson promotes the opportunity for cooperative learning, role play, small group activity, games, class discussions, and skill-building exercises.

Evaluation Outcomes

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The results from both studies showed mixed effects for the Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) program. The 2013 study by Bacon, Hall, and Ferron showed the program affected middle school students’ use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD). Further, the TGFD program also affected important risk and protective factors associated with resiliency to ATOD use. The 2000 study by Bacon showed that the program impacted students’ intent to smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, although these results faded at the 20-week follow-up period. Overall, the preponderance of evidence from both studies indicates that the TGFD program has a marginal, yet positive, impact on students’ ATOD use and the risk and protective factors associated with ATOD use.

Study 1
ATOD Use
Smoking Past 30 Days
Bacon, Hall, and Ferron (2013) found that participating in the TGFD program appears to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ tobacco use. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less tobacco use than did high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Drink Past 30 Days
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ alcohol consumption. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less alcohol consumption than did high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Binge Drinking
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ binge drinking. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less binge drinking than did high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Marijuana Use Past 30 Days
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on reducing high-risk students’ marijuana use. At the 6-month follow-up period, high-risk students in the treatment group reported less marijuana use than high-risk students in the control group. There were little to no differences between moderate- to low-risk students in the treatment group and those in the control group.

Risk and Projective Factors Associated With ATOD Use
Intent to Use ATOD
Bacon (2003) found that participating in the TGFD program appears to have a statistically significant impact on students’ intent to use ATOD. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed less intent to use ATOD than those in the control group.

ATOD Attitudes
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on students’ attitudes toward ATOD. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed more negative attitudes toward ATOD than did those in the control group.

Harmful Effects
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on students’ knowledge about the harmful effects of drugs. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed more knowledge of the harmful effects of drugs than did those in the control group.

Peer Resistance
The TGFD program was found to have a statistically significant impact on students’ ability to resist peer pressure. At the 6-month follow-up period, students in the treatment group expressed a greater ability to resist peer pressure than those in the control group.

Goals and Decisions
The TGFD program was not found to affect students’ ability to make decisions or set goals. Limited to no differences were found between students in the treatment and control groups.

Study 2
Intent to Smoke Cigarettes
Bacon (2000) found that the TGFD program had a significant impact on students’ intent to smoke cigarettes. Students in the treatment group reported less intent to smoke than students in the control group at posttest; however, this difference decreased at the 20-week follow-up posttest.

Intent to Drink Alcohol
The TGFD program was found to have a significant impact on students’ intent to drink alcohol. Students in the treatment group reported less intent to drink alcohol than did students in the control group at posttest; however, this difference decreased at the 20-week follow-up posttest.

Intent to Smoke Marijuana
Mixed results were found for the program’s impact on intent to smoke marijuana. At posttest, students in the control group reported less intent to smoke marijuana than did students in the treatment group; however, this changed at the 20-week follow-up. At the 20-week follow-up, students in the treatment group reported less intent to smoke marijuana than those in the control; however, this difference was marginal.

Risk and Protective Factors
The TGFD program had a significant positive impact on resistance skills, attitudes toward use, perceived peer norms, peer approval of use, prosocial peer group, and locus of control, as students in the treatment group reported more positive effects than those in the control group at posttest; however, these differences decreased by the 20-week follow-up period.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
To investigate the impact of Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) on middle school students’ use of drugs, as well as its ability to affect several key risk and protective factors, Bacon, Hall, and Ferron (2013) used a stratified randomized treatment–control design. Their study included 40 schools (with a total of about 11,000 sixth grade students) all of which were paired on school demographic factors such as free or reduced lunch, minority representation, limited English proficiency services, exception education services, and (when possible) location, size, and prior academic performance in reading. Following the pairing process, one member of each pair was then assigned to the treatment condition, and the other member to the control condition. The treatment condition was provided to sixth grade students at the 20 treatment schools, whereas sixth graders in the 20 control schools did not receive an intervention. After the treatment and control groups were created, school consent was obtained from principals, and parental consent was obtained from all parents.

Students in the treatment and control groups were asked to complete the Student Behavior and Risk and Protective Factor Survey at three different times: 1 to 2 weeks before treatment implementation (known as presurvey), 1 to 2 weeks after delivery of the treatment intervention (known as postsurvey), and 6 months after the end of the treatment intervention (known as 6-month follow-up). The surveys were anonymous, and students were asked to answer the questions honestly. The questions were predominately five-option Likert-type responses, allowing students to select Strongly Agree, Agree, Not Sure, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree. Students were asked questions related to their alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use, as well as risk and protective factors associated with resiliency to ATOD use, such as intent to use ATOD, goal-setting and decision-making skills, bonding with prosocial peers, social and peer resistance skills, emotion competency/self-efficacy, awareness of harmful effects of drugs, and attitudes toward drug use. A two-level model was used to examine the data.

Study 2
Bacon (2000) used a quasi-experimental design to investigate the effectiveness of TGFD on middle school students’ ATOD use intentions, attitudes, and perceptions. The study included six middle schools randomly selected from a Florida school district, which includes urban, rural, and suburban areas. The sample size included 1,318 sixth grade students, of which, 52 percent were female, 48 percent were white, 33 percent were African American, 13 percent were Hispanic, and 6 percent were Asian American. Overall, 51 percent of the sample consisted of students who received free or reduced lunches. Similar to Study 1, the schools were stratified on academic performance, learning environment, student characteristics, and (when possible) school size and location. Three levels of stratification were identified, and two schools from each level were randomly assigned to the treatment or control condition. The three schools assigned to the treatment condition received the TGFD prevention program during the first quarter of the school year, while the three schools in the control group did not receive the intervention.

Students in the treatment and control groups received a pretest questionnaire before the TGFD program and two posttest questionnaires: 1) immediately following the end of the TGFD program and 2) 20 weeks following the end of the program. The survey concentrated on respondents’ overall use, or intention to use ATOD, and the risk and protective factors associated with their ability to resist ATOD. Using a five-point Likert response scale, ranging from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree, students were asked a serious of questions related to their use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana in the past 12 months. Similarly, using the same Likert scale, students were asked a series of questions related to their susceptibility to use or experiment with ATOD, as well as their overall attitudes toward ATOD. These questions investigated topics such as perceptions of peer resistance skills, positive attitudes toward nondrug use, perceptions of peer normative substance use, perceptions or peer disapproval of substance use, prosocial peers, and locus of control. A two-way Multivariate Analysis of Variance was used to examine the data.
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Cost

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The cost of the Too Good for Drugs program varies across grade level. The Mendez Foundation offers materials as a kit, which includes the teacher’s manual, student workbooks, and a variety of visual aids, games, and multimedia. The cost of the kit is $179.95 for sixth grade, $189.95 for seventh grade, and $189.95 for eighth grade. The foundation also sells the kit materials separately. Additional information can also be found on the Mendez Foundation’s Web site (http://www.toogoodprograms.org/).
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Implementation Information

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To implement the program, the Mendez Foundation sells the curriculum and information related to the program on its Web site. Additionally, teachers implementing the program receive training before program implementation, which includes specific instructions on how to complete the Teacher Checklist of Student Behavior. Additional information regarding program implementation can be found on the Mendez Foundation Web site.
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Other Information

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Please note: CrimeSolutions.gov reviewers reviewed multiple studies for this program. The reviewers found that the evidence for positive program outcomes was not consistent in all studies reviewed. Therefore, the single study icon is used. Promising programs have some evidence indicating they achieve their intended outcomes. Additional research is recommended.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Bacon, Tina P., Bruce W. Hall, and John M. Ferron. 2013. One-Year Study of the Effects of the Too Good for Drugs Prevention Program on Middle School Students. Tampa, Fla.: C.E. Mendez Foundation, Inc.
http://www.toogoodprograms.org/catalog/view/theme/mendez/files/Evaluation%20Studies/TGFD_Middle_Study_2013_March.pdf

Study 2
Bacon, Tina P. 2000. The Effects of the Too Good for Drugs 2 Drug Prevention Program on Students’ Use Intentions and Risk and Protective Factors. Tampa, Fla.: Florida Educational Research Council.
http://www.toogoodprograms.org/catalog/view/theme/mendez/files/Evaluation%20Studies/TGFD_Middle_School_Study_2000.pdf
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Mendez Foundation. 2013. Too Good for Drugs—Middle School.
http://www.toogoodprograms.org/
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Program Snapshot

Age: 9 - 13

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): School

Program Type: Classroom Curricula, Leadership and Youth Development, School/Classroom Environment, Alcohol and Drug Prevention

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Model Programs Guide, National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices