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Project Alert


Project ALERT is a school-based prevention program for middle or junior high school students that focuses on alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use. It seeks to prevent adolescent nonusers from experimenting with these drugs, and to prevent youths who are already experimenting from becoming more regular users or abusers. Based on the social influence model of prevention, the program is designed to help motivate young people to avoid using drugs and to teach them the skills they need to understand and resist pro-drug social influences.

Target Problem

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Marijuana
  • Inhalants


  • School

Target Participants

  • Middle to high school students
  • Age group: 13-18
  • Gender: Male and female

Assumptions and Outcomes

Main intermediate factor(s) assumed to influence substance misuse

  • Normative beliefs and self-efficacy

Underlying assumptions

  • Adolescents start using drugs primarily because of social influences (peers, parents, siblings, and media) and because they want to emulate behavior they view as socially desirable.
  • Drug prevention programs must help students develop the motivation to resist using drugs. Teaching resistance skills alone is not enough.
  • Drug prevention programs should target substances that are used first and most widely by young people.
  • Much adolescent behavior stems from modeling the behavior of admired others, in particular, older teenagers who are close in age.
  • Adolescents are much more likely to absorb new information and learn new skills when they are actively involved in the learning process.

Program Structure


  • A total of fourteen lessons over a two-year period:
  1. Eleven core lessons once per week in the 7th grade
  2. Three booster lessons in the 8th grade.


  • Providers/facilitators: Project ALERT is implemented by classroom teachers at their decision and at their own speed
  • Training needed: Yes, training is needed. Teachers can get online trainings as well as supports as needed via email and a toll-free phone number. All materials (lesson plans, brochures, and other teaching tools) are available online for free on Project ALERT website.

Previous Implementations


  • Broad implementation of Project ALERT started in 1995
  • Since then, it has been implemented in more than 3,500 school districts
  • It has also been translated to Spanish

Previous participants

  • White
  • Asian
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Black or African American
  • American Indian or Alaska Native

Cultural relevance for Hawai‘i

No contextual relevance
Place-based or ethno-culture
Place-based and ethno-culture
Place-based or ethno-culture pertaining to Hawai‘i
Hawai‘i-oriented contextual relevance

Note: This framework was based on a study which examined several nationally recognized prevention programs to determine whether any may have cultural relevance to the context of Hawai‘i (Rehurer, Hiramatsu & Helm, 2008 ). We borrowed this framework and applied it to a more current list of EBPs. This approach looks at whether or not a program’s curriculum content was originated and developed with a certain place or culture in mind. A score of 0 (zero) indicates no specific reference to a place or an ethno-culture was included in the program’s development (no contextual cultural relevance) and a score of 4 (four) indicates that the program was developed either specifically for Hawai‘i or was developed somewhere else but was then also adapted for "local" and/or Native Hawaiian cultures. Placement of a program on the continuum was based on the sample population listed in their study reports and included considerations of 1) whether the program was ever implemented with populations similar to the racial/ethnic composition of Hawai‘i's population and 2) whether the program was ever adapted to meet the needs of a specified local or ethnic culture (for instance, was the curriculum has successfully implemented in Spanish or languages other than English?).

Ever implemented in Hawai‘i?


Previous implementation in Hawai‘i

Time Period
Honolulu County

Hina Mauka

Kaua'i County

Is there any published study with Hawai‘i participants?



Contact Information


  • Center on the Family, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. (2016). Prevention Programs Online Survey, 2014–2016 (Tool C2 & D5)
  • Center on the Family, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. (2013). Substance Abuse Prevention Resource Mapping Project
  • Rehuher, D., Hiramatsu, T., & Helm, S. (2008). Evidence-based youth drug prevention: a critique with implications for practice-based contextually relevant prevention in Hawai‘i. Hawaii Journal of Public Health. 1(1): 52-61. Retrieved from
  • Yuan, S., Sabino, S., & Wongkaren, T. (2013). Final evaluation report: Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, State of Hawaii, 2006-2012. Honolulu, HI: Center on the Family, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.