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After-School Programs May Reduce Adolescent Alcohol Use

Voluntary after-school programs on drug and alcohol use could be successful in curbing alcohol use in middle school students, says a recent RAND Corp. study.

The study evaluates CHOICE, a voluntary after-school program that instructs middle school students about drugs and alcohol, ways to resist using both, and what harmful impacts they can have. More than 9,500 students at 16 middle schools were included in the study, which found students were less likely to use drugs and alcohol after exposure to the program.

While more research is needed, the results of the study show promising findings, said Elizabeth D'Amico, lead researcher in the study and a psychologist at RAND, in a press release. The informal environment in after-school programs may be key in reaching kids at this age, in a less structured environment than school, she said.

"Our findings suggest that adolescents will voluntarily attend an after-school program that specifically provides information on alcohol and drugs, and that this type of program can reduce alcohol use at the school level. This study is the next step in understanding how voluntary after-school programs can help younger adolescents make healthier choices," D'Amico said.

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