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Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND)

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

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.

Classroom management in Project TND involves development of positive norms of classroom behavior. Although interaction among the youth is encouraged, the course is primarily teacher-directed and highly structured. In Project TND, the teacher’s role is to actively develop and maintain peer group support in the class by modeling support, positively reinforcing it among group members, and negatively reinforcing deviant peer bonds and activities. The teacher creates and structures interactions among youth in prosocial directions.

Blueprints has certified four studies evaluating TND, all conducted with high schools located in Southern California.

Study 1, Simon et al. (2002) and Sussman et al. (1998), reported on a cluster randomized control trial in which 21 schools and 1,074 students were randomly assigned to: 1) control group; 2) TND curriculum; or 3) TND curriculum plus school wide activities such as meetings, job training and drug-free party events. Results at one-year follow-up showed that students from schools in either program condition exhibited a reduction in alcohol and hard drug use prevalence rates, relative to students from the control schools.

In Study 2, Dent, Sussman & Stacy (2001) conducted a cluster randomized control trial with 1,208 students (grades 9 to 11) and 26 classrooms in three traditional, regular high schools. One-year follow-up results showed significant reduction for treatment compared to control of prevalence of hard drug use and alcohol use.

In Study 3 (Sussman, Dent, Craig et al., 2002; Sussman, Dent, & Stacy, 2002; Sussman et al., 2003), three sessions were added to the original TND program in order to create a revised TND curriculum. This 12-session version contained the same motivation-skills-decision-making material as the previous trials, with the addition of three new sessions that provided more information about tobacco and marijuana use and violence prevention. A randomized block design was used to assign 1,018 students from 18 continuation high schools to one of three conditions: 1) standard care control condition; 2) a self-instruction version of the 12-session TND curriculum (completed in class); or 3) a 12-session version of the TND curriculum delivered by project staff health educators. Results from the one-year follow-up showed that only the health educator-led condition provided a reduction in problem behavior rates (i.e., hard drug use, alcohol use, weapon carrying, tobacco and marijuana use), relative to each of the other conditions. Similarly, findings at the two-year follow-up showed the health educator-led treatment significantly lowered the probability of 30-day tobacco and hard drug use.

Study 4, Sun et al. (2008), provided results of a cluster randomized control trial that included 18 alternative and regular high schools and gathered data on 2,064 students. Students were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: 1) control; 2) cognitive perception information only curriculum (Cognitive Only); or 3) combined cognitive perception information + TND (Combined). For this study, the program was administered by both project health educators and classroom teachers, in contrast to studies 1-3 in which only project health educators delivered the TND program. One-year follow-up findings showed that frequency of hard drug use was significantly reduced in both treatment conditions relative to the control group.

In terms of cost-benefit analysis, Washington State Institute for Public Policy (December 2019) reports $5.70 in measured benefits per $1 spent in implementing Project Towards No Drug Abuse.


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

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.

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.

Read the Program Fact Sheet


Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development
University of Colorado Boulder
Institute of Behavioral Science
UCB 483, Boulder, CO 80309


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Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development is
currently funded by Arnold Ventures (formerly the Laura and John Arnold Foundation) and historically has received funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.