School-based drug prevention interventions have historically focused on abstinence, been delivered by school teachers or law enforcement officers, and had limited effectiveness in terms of behaviour change. Informal school-based peer-support has been effective in preventing the uptake of smoking but evidence on the prevention of illicit drug use using peer support is inconclusive.
Intervention development, piloting and cluster randomised controlled pilot trial (MRC complex intervention phase II trial).
Two drug prevention interventions (ASSIST+Frank and Frank friends) will be developed using the peer nomination and training manual from an existing effective peer-led smoking prevention intervention, ASSIST; content on drug misuse will come from the UK national drug education service, “Frank”. (www.talktofrank.com). ASSIST+Frank and Frank friends will be piloted in one school each and be followed by a process evaluation and period of intervention refinement.
A 4-arm cluster pilot RCT (ASSIST in year 8 with ASSIST+Frank adjunct intervention in year 9; ASSIST in year 8 only; Frank friends in year 9 only; usual care comparison) will then be conducted, with an embedded process evaluation.
Campbell R, Starkey F, Holliday J, Audrey S, Bloor M, Parry-Langdon N, et al. An informal school-based peer-led intervention for smoking prevention in adolescence (ASSIST): a cluster randomised trial. The Lancet 2008;371(9624):1595–602.
NIHR PHR Programme