THE MAKING OF A DRUG-FREE AMERICA by Mathea Falco

THE MAKING OF A DRUG-FREE AMERICA

Programs That Work
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Enthusiastic and well-researched but flawed survey of drug- prevention programs. Falco (a former assistant of state for international narcotics matters) describes neighborhood organizations formed to drive dealers off their block; programs to educate youngsters from third grade through high school; and prison treatment efforts. She first addresses a fact often ignored--that every year, 600,000 Americans die from alcohol and cigarettes, while only 10,000 die from illegal drugs. Falco then looks at prevention programs in schools: LST; STAR; DARE; SAP; Project Healthy Choices; Smart Moves; Start Smart; SSDP; Safe Haven Program; Strengthening Families. Who would have thought there were so many, especially with the percentage of the federal drug- budget spent on education and treatment declining (it now stands at 30%)? Falco offers a brief description of each program. She tells us that in STAR, for instance, junior-high-school students attend a curriculum about recognizing media and peer influence and take home assignments to stimulate family discussions on drugs. Falco's enthusiasm is contagious but the problem is that there has been follow-up on only three of these programs to see whether they actually work. Falco says these programs have favorable ``evaluations,'' but by whom and based on what criteria? And where she does provide statistics, they don't add up. Discussing programs for criminals, she says that the boot- camp approach doesn't work because 50% return to prison within 2.5 years. On the other hand, Delancey Street--a therapeutic community for criminals that Falco praises--has an initial 22% dropout rate, and 50% of those who leave the program later on ask for readmission. Curiously, AA--working in prisons for the past 40 years--goes unmentioned in her ``Treating Criminal Offenders'' chapter. Methodically weak, but, still, a good overview of prevention and treatment efforts.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-8129-1957-2
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1992




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