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Too Good for Drugs

Ages 5-18

Rating: Level 3


Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) is a long-term, school-based prevention program designed to reduce students’ intention to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Developed by the Mendez Foundation for use with students in kindergarten through 12th grade (5 to 18 years old), TGFD has a separate, developmentally appropriate curriculum for each grade level that builds skills sequentially. The program is designed to develop

  • Positive peer norms
  • Appropriate attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use
  • Personal and interpersonal skills relating to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use
  • Knowledge of the negative consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and the benefits of a drug-free lifestyle

TGFD consists of curricula with ten 30 to 60 minute lessons per grade level for kindergarten through eighth grade, and fourteen 60 minute lessons for ninth through twelfth grade. Each grade level kit includes everything necessary for successful program implementation including: a fully scripted curriculum notebook, student workbooks and supplementary teaching materials such as posters, games, CDs and other visual aides. Each lesson includes rationales, the lesson objectives, a materials list, recommended resources, and suggestions for lesson extensions. The curricula also include Home Workouts: Information and Exercises for Parents and Kids, to be copied and sent home. Too Good for Drugs also includes supplemental activities and lesson extenders that can be used to infuse drug prevention skills into subject areas including music, physical education and language arts as well as community activities, recommended books , videos and other resources.

Too Good for Drugs provides education in social and emotional competencies and reduces risk factors while building protective factors that affect students in their particular age groups. Instructional strategies include role-plays, modeling, practicing, reinforcing, providing feedback and promoting the generalization of skills to other contexts all of which promote cooperative learning and skill building. Too Good for Drugs provides normative education, teacher tips and a parent component designed to make both the school and family environments more supportive of drug-free choices.


The program was evaluated using a randomized cluster experimental design. Six middle schools were randomly assigned to either the intervention group or the control group. The sample consisted of 1,318 sixth grade students. They were 52 percent female, 48 percent white, 33 percent African-American, 13 percent Hispanic, and 6 percent Asian-American. Students were surveyed immediately before the intervention and then again 9 weeks after program completion. The 20-week follow-up included data on 84 percent of the sample (n=1,106). Researchers collected data on drug use and on risk and protective factors.


Participation in TGFD resulted in a 33 percent reduction in smoking initiation or intentions relative to the students in the control group at postintervention. At the 20-week follow-up, 14 percent of the students in the intervention group were likely to use cigarettes, compared with 18 percent in the control group (not a significant difference). Student drinking initiation or intentions were reduced by 38 percent for the intervention group relative to the control group postintervention, and after 20 weeks only 18 percent of the intervention group versus 21 percent of the control group were likely to use alcohol. Twenty-five percent fewer students in the treatment group indicated potential or actual marijuana use, though this was not statistically significant. At the 20-week follow-up, 12 percent of the intervention group (compared with 17 percent of the control group) were likely to use marijuana. TGFD also has an impact on students’ risk and protective factors. In comparison with the control group, those students who received the intervention had significantly more positive posttest scores on the following areas: skills to resist peer pressure, attitudes towards drug use, awareness of peer norms and use, peers being less accepting of substance use, and friendships formed with other young people less likely to engage in substance use. At the 20-week follow-up, there were significant differences between the two groups, with the intervention group having more resistance skills, awareness of peer drug norms, peer disapproval of substance use, and personal locus of control.

Risk Factors


  • Anti-social behavior and alienation/Delinquent beliefs/General delinquency involvement/Drug dealing
  • Favorable attitudes toward drug use/Early onset of AOD use/Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Life stressors
  • Poor refusal skills


  • Family history of the problem behavior/Parent criminality
  • Family management problems/Poor parental supervision and/or monitoring


  • Inadequate school climate/Poorly organized and functioning schools/Negative labeling by teachers
  • Negative attitude toward school/Low bonding/Low school attachment/Commitment to school


  • Availability of alcohol and other drugs
  • Economic deprivation/Poverty/Residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood
  • Neighborhood youth in trouble


  • Association with delinquent and/or aggressive peers
  • Peer alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drug use

Protective Factors


  • Healthy / Conventional beliefs and clear standards
  • High expectations
  • Perception of social support from adults and peers
  • Positive / Resilient temperament
  • Positive expectations / Optimism for the future
  • Self-efficacy
  • Social competencies and problem-solving skills


  • Effective parenting
  • Opportunities for prosocial family involvement
  • Rewards for prosocial family involvement


  • High quality schools / Clear standards and rules
  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults
  • Strong school motivation / Positive attitude toward school
  • Student bonding (attachment to teachers, belief, commitment)


  • Clear social norms / Policies with sanctions for violations and rewards for compliance
  • Presence and involvement of caring, supportive adults


  • Good relationships with peers
  • Involvement with positive peer group activities


  • SAMHSA: Model Programs


Bacon, T.P. 2003. Evaluation of the Too Good for Drugs—Elementary School Prevention Program. Tallahassee, Fla.: Florida Department of Education, Department of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.


Christianne Powell
The Mendez Foundation
601 South Magnolia Avenue
Tampa, FL 33606
Phone: (800) 750-0986
Fax: (813) 251-3237
Web site: