Preventing Drug Use

Beau Kilmer and Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

in Targeting Investments in Children

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780226475813
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226475837 | DOI:
Preventing Drug Use

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This chapter considers whether substance-use-prevention programs targeted at adolescents can influence the probability of experiencing poverty as an adult. Because we are not aware of any studies that have directly addressed this question, we draw conclusions from two different literatures: (1) the literature on the effectiveness of programs intended to prevent substance use among adolescents and (2) the literature on the effect of substance use on educational attainment and labor market outcomes. A discussion on the etiology of substance use that helps the reader understand why the timing of substance use initiation and escalation complicates studies attempting to assess the causal effect of this use on later life outcomes is presented. The chapter discusses the effectiveness of substance-use prevention and the effect of substance use on education, employment, and earnings. Although there is a fair amount of evidence suggesting that prevention programs for adolescents have short-term effects on consumption, there is very little evidence to suggest that these effects remain through high school.

Keywords: drug use; substance-use prevention; poverty; education; high school

Chapter.  17364 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Economics

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