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Programs that target multiple areas of young people’s lives, including family, peers, community and school, may help prevent drug use and risky sexual behavior, according to a new study. Successful programs often last for several years, according to Reuters. The study found programs that addressed just one area were generally less effective in preventing risky behaviors.

The study assessed 13 programs designed to prevent drug use and risky sexual behavior, and found many have not been successful.

Those programs that produced improvements included one that involved a school curriculum that included parent support, an HIV-reduction program that involved parent monitoring, and an elementary school program that taught family bonding skills.

Youth who participated in these programs reported less drug use, heavy drinking and smoking in young adulthood compared with peers who were not involved in the programs. The researchers said starting school and community interventions in the preteen years may be most effective in preventing drug and alcohol use.

The findings are published in the journal Addiction.


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