Prior Alcohol and Drug Education and Alcohol and Drug Use at St. Norbert College

Olivia Villarruel Sociology, Human Service
Sara Van Cuyk Sociology, Human Services

Dr. Erinn Brooks Professor of Sociology

Abstract

From slogans to new laws on both federal and state levels, the War on Drugs has been on the socio-political forefront for several decades. One nonpartisan staple of the War has been drug prevention education in primary and secondary schools across the United States. But to what extent do these initiatives shape participants’ behavior over the long term? This study examines drug prevention education and drug use among students at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. Specifically, we investigate the use of alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine. We administered a survey that included open- and closed-ended questions to 148 participants in order to gauge their experiences with drug education and their histories of drug use. We used the Pearson Chi-Square to analyze relationships between variables. Our findings show that students who had some form of prior drug and alcohol education in primary or secondary school were less likely to use marijuana and nicotine, whereas they were more likely to use alcohol. These results must be interpreted with caution, given a nonprobability sampling strategy. Still, our study suggests that drug prevention education may shape drug use behaviors for some substances more than others.