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Project Towards No Drug Abuse

Blueprints Program Rating: Model

A classroom-based drug prevention program designed for at-risk youth that aims to prevent teen drinking, smoking, marijuana, and other hard drug use.

Program Outcomes

  • Alcohol
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Tobacco
  • Violent Victimization

Program Type

  • Alcohol Prevention and Treatment
  • Cognitive-Behavioral Training
  • Drug Prevention/Treatment
  • School - Individual Strategies
  • Skills Training

Program Setting

  • School

Continuum of Intervention

  • Universal Prevention (Entire Population)
  • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)


  • Late Adolescence (15-18) - High School


  • Male and Female


  • All Race/Ethnicity


  • Blueprints: Model
  • Crime Solutions: Promising
  • OJJDP Model Programs: Promising
  • SAMHSA: 2.9-3.4

Program Information Contact

Leah Meza
USC Institute for Prevention Research
Soto Street Bldg., 302A
201 N. Soto Street
Los Angeles, CA 90032
Phone: (800) 400-8461 for orders
Fax: (323) 442-7254

Program Developer/Owner

  • Steve Sussman, Ph.D.
  • University of Southern California

Brief Description of the Program

Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) is a drug prevention program for high school youth who are at risk for drug use and violence-related behavior. The current version of the Project TND curriculum contains twelve 40-minute interactive sessions taught by teachers or health educators over a 3-week period. Sessions provide instruction in motivation activities to not use drugs; skills in self-control, communication, and resource acquisition; and decision-making strategies. The program is delivered universally and has been used in both traditional and alternative, high-risk high schools.

See: Full Description


Compared to control groups of students, TND students showed:

  • 27% prevalence reduction in 30-day cigarette use.
  • 22% prevalence reduction in 30-day marijuana use.
  • 26% prevalence reduction in 30-day hard drug use.
  • Long-term (at years 4 and 5) maintenance effect for 30-day hard drug use.
  • 9% prevalence reduction in 30-day alcohol use among baseline drinkers.
  • Lower probability of 30-day tobacco and hard drug use for the health-educator-led condition at the 2-year follow-up.
  • Lower level of marijuana use among male baseline non-users in the health-educator-led condition at the 2-year follow-up.
  • 21% relative reduction in weapon carrying among males.
  • 23% relative reduction in victimization among males.

Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

Research indicates that the program is generalizable to a variety of ethnic groups, but potential differences across race and ethnic groups in program effectiveness were not reported. The effect of the program on violent victimization holds for males only, however.

Risk and Protective Factors

Risk Factors
  • Individual: Early initiation of drug use, Favorable attitudes towards antisocial behavior, Favorable attitudes towards drug use, Stress, Substance use
  • Peer: Interaction with antisocial peers, Peer rewards for antisocial behavior, Peer substance use
  • Family: Family history of problem behavior
Protective Factors
  • Individual: Perceived risk of drug use, Problem solving skills, Prosocial behavior, Prosocial involvement, Skills for social interaction

See also: Project Towards No Drug Abuse Logic Model (PDF)

Training and Technical Assistance

Teacher training consists of 1-2 day workshops, each day lasting 6-7 hours. In 2-day workshops, teachers have much more time to practice delivering session activities and receiving feedback. One-day trainings are more relevant to settings highly familiar with delivery of prevention programming or in settings in which TND has been delivered in the past. We strongly recommend that every teacher who implements Project TND participate in a training workshop, conducted by a certified Project TND trainer, prior to beginning delivery of the program. The objectives of the Project TND training workshop are to provide teachers with an understanding of the theoretical basis, content, instructional techniques, and objectives of the program. In addition, the training is designed to build the skills that teachers need to deliver the lessons with fidelity. Teachers observe and practice the teaching skills crucial to successful implementation. Being able to implement the curriculum with fidelity is quite important. Comfort with engaging in talk shows (psychodramas), using Socratic/interactive dialogue, and how to play the TND game (to motivate student participation, reinforce learning, and aid the teacher with classroom management) are examples of three key skills needed.

Training Certification Process

At the current time, certification for TND delivery, and certification for some persons to train others (who have much experience with the program), is offered but no TOTs per se. When a TOT is conducted, the person who will be certified does the training and one of the TND-certified trainers will observe the training, provide feedback, and provide a passing-failing score for the training. In general, people are only certified to train others locally on TND.

Brief Evaluation Methodology

Project TND has conducted seven randomized field trials that evaluated the effectiveness of the program on teen substance use and violence. Six experimental field trials took place in public high schools in southern California and one took place in 14 school districts across the country. The main study examined youth at continuation high schools, the alternative school system in California. Other studies replicated the program in regular high schools, continuation high schools and with some modifications or enhancements.

The first four trials involved one or two program conditions compared to a standard care control condition. Study 1 sampled 21 alternative, continuation high schools and gathered data on approximately 1,074 students at 1-year, 1,047 students at 2 to 3 year, and 725 students at 4 to 5 year follow-ups. Study 2 sampled 26 classrooms in three regular high schools and gathered 1-year follow-up data on 679 students; Study 3 sampled 18 continuation high schools and gathered 1-year data on 715 students and 2-year follow-up data on 575 students. Study 4 sampled 18 continuation and regular high schools and gathered 1-year follow-up data on 2,064 students.

Study 5 tested whether the program, when enhanced with a peer-led interactive component that emphasized social networks (called TND-Network), was effective at reducing substance use among high-risk adolescents without any iatrogenic or deleterious effects. The study sampled 25 continuation high schools in California and collected data on 938 students at baseline and one-year follow-up.

Study 6 examined the effectiveness of the program at the one-year follow-up when implemented on a large scale in real-world high school settings across the country. This study also evaluated the relative effectiveness of two teacher training approaches: a regular training workshop versus a comprehensive training and implementation support model. The study sampled 65 high schools across the country and gathered data on 2538 students at baseline and one-year follow-up.

Study 7 tested the efficacy of motivational interviewing-based booster sessions for the program. The study sampled 24 continuation high schools in California and collected data on 1,186 students assessed at baseline, and again at one year after the delivery of the program. During the year after the delivery of the program, Motivational Interviewing booster sessions were conducted with the program+booster condition.

Peer Implementation Sites

Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office
1300 17th Street - City Centre
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Contact: Kevin Keyes, Prevention Specialist


Contact: Daryl Thiesen, Prevention Services Coordinator

Eagle River Youth Coalition
P.O. Box 4613
Edwards, CO 81632
Phone: 970.949.9250
Contact: Michelle Stecher, Executive Director


Barnett, E., Spruijt-Metz, D., Unger, J. B., Sun, P., Rohrbach, L. A., & Sussman, S. (2012). Boosting a teen substance use prevention program with motivational interviewing. Substance Use and Misuse, 47, 418-428.

Dent, C., Sussman, S., & Stacy, A. (2001). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: Generalizability to a general high school sample. Preventive Medicine, 32, 514-520.

Lisha, N. E., Sun, P., Rohrbach, L. A., Spruijt-Metz, D., Unger, J. B., & Sussman, S. (2012). An evaluation of immediate outcomes and fidelity of a drug abuse prevention program in continuation high schools: Project Toward No Drug Abuse (TND). Journal on Drug Education, 42(1), 33-57.

Rohrbach, L. A., Sun, P., & Sussman, S. (2010). One-year follow-up evaluation of the Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) dissemination trial. Preventive Medicine, 51, 313-319.

Simon, T. R., Sussman, S., Dahlberg, L. L., & Dent C. W. (2002). Influence of a substance-abuse-prevention curriculum on violence-related behavior. American Journal of Health Behavior, 25, 103-110.

Sun, P., Sussman, S., Dent, C. W., & Rohrbach, L. A. (2008). One-year follow-up evaluation of Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND-4). Preventive Medicine, 47, 438-442.

Sun, W., Skara, S., Sun, P., Dent, C. W., & Sussman, S. (2006). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: Long-term substance use outcomes evaluation. Preventive Medicine, 42, 188-192.

Sussman, S., Dent, C. W., Craig, S., Ritt-Olsen, A., & McCuller, W. J. (2002). Development and immediate impact of a self-instruction curriculum for an adolescent indicated drug abuse prevention trial. Journal of Drug Education, 32(2), 121-137.

Sussman, S., Dent, C., & Stacy, A. (2002). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: A review of the findings and future directions. American Journal of Health Behavior, 26, 354-365.

Sussman, S., Dent, C., Stacy, A., & Craig, S. (1998). One-year outcomes of Project Towards No Drug Abuse. Preventive Medicine, 27, 632-642.

Sussman, S., Sun, P., McCuller, W. J., & Dent, C.W. (2003). Project Towards No Drug Abuse: Two-year outcomes of a trial that compares health educator delivery to self instruction. Preventive Medicine, 37, 155-162.

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(4), 476-485.

Valente, T. V., 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(11), 1804-1815.