A study headed by Elizabeth O’Connor, PhD, at the Kaiser Permanente Evidence-based Practice Center in Portland, Oregon, has bad news for drug counselors and the youth-focused drug prevention industry:
26-MAY-2020–Bottom Line: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that current evidence is insufficient to make a recommendation regarding primary care-based behavioral counseling interventions to prevent illicit drug use (including nonmedical use of prescription drugs) in children, adolescents and young adults. The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services and this recommendation is consistent with its 2014 statement, although it now includes young adults ages 18-25. Illicit drug use, defined as the use of substances (not including alcohol or tobacco products) that are illegally obtained or involve nonmedical use of prescription medications, contributes to the leading causes of death among young people ages 10-24. […]
Further conclusions and relevance:
…The evidence for behavioral counseling interventions to prevent initiation of illicit and nonmedical drug use among adolescents and young adults was inconsistent and imprecise, with some interventions associated with reduction in use and others associated with no benefit or increased use. Health, social, and legal outcomes were sparsely reported, and few showed improvements.
A thorough investigation of the efficacy of drug prevention has long been overdue.