We use data from the two rounds of the NLSY97 and the corresponding QED data to examine the effectiveness of school endowments and curricula in targeting juvenile use of tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. Our results support the notion that schools matter in reducing juvenile involvement in substance use. Higher discretionary dollars per pupil are linked to reduced rates of juvenile initiation and repetitive use rates of cigarettes and marijuana. Additionally, school curricula, as indicated by the implementation of year round classes and some innovative and after-school programs—such as gifted and talented, attendance monitoring, homework hotline, international baccalaureate, extended-day, and mentoring, programs, affect both juvenile initiation to tobacco and alcohol use and juvenile repetitive use of tobacco and alcohol. In particular, we find that juvenile initiation to cigarette use is approximately between 2 percentage points and 3 percentage points lower among youths attending schools with gifted and talented and international baccalaureate programs. In addition, juvenile repetitive cigarette use is approximately 54%, 52%, and 48% lower among youths attending schools offering year round classes, international baccalaureate, and twenty-first century programs, respectively. Finally, juvenile initiation to alcohol use and juvenile repetitive use of alcohol are approximately 3% and 20% lower, respectively, among youths in schools offering gifted and talented programs. In sum, while these programs are not implemented to address substance use problems among the student body, we find that the implementation of these programs is often accompanied by a reduction in juvenile initiation and repetitive substance use.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 18, 2004
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