Drug education curbs risky sexual behaviour in teens
School-based drug education programmes can significantly curb risky behaviour and drug abuse in teenagers, suggests a new study.
The researchers found that young adults who had been exposed to a popular drug abuse prevention programme as adolescents were less likely to engage in risky sexual behaviour five to seven years later.
"The lessons these young people learned about how to avoid drug and alcohol abuse appears to have had a positive impact on their sexual behaviour as well," said Phyllis Ellickson, the lead author of the study and a researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization.
The study found that youth exposed to a drug abuse education programme were significantly less likely as young adults to either engage in sex with multiple partners or to have unprotected sex because of drug and alcohol use than their peers who had not received the training.
During the study, the participants were given Project ALERT lessons.
While risky sexual behaviour was common among the study participants, such behaviour was less prevalent among those exposed to Project ALERT.
Young adults were both less likely to have sex with multiple partners and to have unprotected sex because of drug use than their peers who had not been exposed to the programme.
"Although the effects we found are somewhat modest, these findings show that the benefits of drug abuse prevention programs are not confined to drug use alone and can continue for many years after young people receive the instruction," said Ellickson.
The findings were published in the Journal of Adolescent Health