A Systematic Review of School-Based Alcohol and other Drug Prevention Programs



Roberta Agabio 1, *, Giuseppina Trincas 2, Francesca Floris 2, Gioia Mura 2, Federica Sancassiani2, Matthias C. Angermeyer2, 3
1 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
2 Department of Public Health and Clinical and Molecular Medicine and Unit of Psychosomatics and Clinical Psychiatry, University Hospital, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy
3 Center for Public Mental Health, Gosim, Austria


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© Agabio et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Section of Neuroscience and Clinical Pharmacology, University of Cagliari, Cittadella Universitaria, S.S. 554, km. 4.500, I-09042 Monserrato (CA), Italy; Tel: +39 070 6754325; Fax: +39 070 6754320; E-mail: agabio@unica.it


Abstract

Background:

Alcohol use in adolescents constitutes a major public health concern. Europe is the heaviest drinking region of the world. Several school-based alcohol prevention programs have been developed but it is not clear whether they are really effective. The present study was aimed at identifying the typology with the best evidence of effectiveness in European studies.

Methods:

A systematic search of meta-analyses and/or randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on interventions school-based prevention programs aimed at preventing alcohol consumption or changing the attitudes to consume alcohol.

Results:

A meta-analysis published in 2011 and 12 RCTs more recently published were identified. The meta-analysis evaluated 53 RCTs but only 11.3% of them were conducted in Europe. Globally, 23 RCTs (43.4%) showed some evidence of effectiveness, and 30 RCTs (56.6%) did not find significant difference between the groups. According to the conclusions of the meta-analysis, the Unplugged program should be considered as a practice option in Europe. Among the other 12 RCTs, 42% were conducted in Europe. Globally, 7 studies (58.3%) achieved positive results, and 5 studies (41.7%) did not find significant differences or produced a mixed pattern of results. Three of the 5 European trials (60%) used the Unplugged program with positive results.

Conclusion:

Even if further studies should be conducted to confirm these results, Unplugged appears to be the prevention project with the best evidence of effectiveness in European studies.

Keywords: Drinking, prevention, school.