Prevention Science [PREV] pp1182-prev-485271 April 5, 2004 19:33 Style ﬁle version Nov. 04, 2000
Prevention Science, Vol. 5, No. 2, June 2004 (
The Impact of Schools on Juvenile Substance
Initiation and Use
and John D. Clapp
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, al-
cohol, 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 hot-
line, 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 par-
ticular, 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 ap-
proximately 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.
KEY WORDS: schools; substance use; governance.
Early consumption of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit
drugs by our youth has revitalized public concern
regarding the role of schools in affecting juvenile
participation in substance use practices. In particu-
lar, some educational initiatives, such as after-school
programs, have received special attention following
The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not neces-
sarily reﬂect the views of the Board of Governors or other mem-
bers of its staff.
San Diego State University, San Diego, California.
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Washington
Correspondence should be directed to Catalina Amuedo-
Dorantes, Ph.D., Department of Economics, San Diego State
University, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, California 92182;
the evidence on juvenile offenses peaking right af-
ter school (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Ser-
vices Administration, 1997). As a result, the U.S.
Department of Education has been increasing its ap-
propriation for safe and drug-free schools through a
variety of school programs. It has also expanded dis-
cretionary spending per pupil to improve infrastruc-
tures and assist in the hiring of more qualiﬁed teachers
to reduce student to teacher ratios (U.S. Department
of Education, web page).
We use data from the two rounds of the National
Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) and the
corresponding QED data for the schools attended by
the NLSY97 youth in 1996 and 1997 to examine the
effectiveness of school endowments and curricula, as
reﬂected by year round and a variety of innovative and
after-school programs, in targeting juvenile use of to-
bacco, alcohol, and marijuana. Our results support
2004 Society for Prevention Research