Nevin Manimala Statistics

Changes in Knowledge, Attitudes, and Perceptions About Substance Use Among Third Graders After Introduction of Substance Use Prevention Curriculum: A Pilot Study

S D Med. 2023 Dec;76(12):534-541.


Substance use remains a critical concern in youth, necessitating early educational interventions to encourage informed decision-making. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a pilot health promotion and substance use prevention curriculum introduced at the third-grade level. Third-grade students from nine schools in South Dakota and Minnesota participated, with the curriculum’s efficacy assessed via pre- and post-curriculum surveys evaluating students’ knowledge of content included in the curriculum. Mean student age was 8.5 years old and average class size was 20 students. Results showed an increased understanding of basic substance use disorder concepts, an improved ability to identify different parts of the brain and identify harmful effects of substance use on the brain and body, and increased awareness of fentanyl as a dangerous substance. The differences between the pre-curriculum and post-curriculum were statistically significant, indicating learned concepts from the provided course content. This study highlights that a well-structured curriculum can bolster third graders’ understanding about personal health, brain functions, safe medication use, and the potential harms from substance use.


By Nevin Manimala

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