Material Information

keeping it REAL: Drug Resistance Strategies #7281

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  • Publication Year:    2005
  • Subject Area:
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Tobacco
  • Audience:
  • 6-8th Grade
  • Material Type:
  • Curricula/Sequential Lessons
  • Special Population:
  • African American
  • Latino/Hispanic
  • Language:
  • English
  • Spanish
  • Special Features:
  • Research-Validated Tobacco Research-Validated Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Publisher:
keeping it REAL: Drug Resistance Strategies


Approximately $215 for materials to implement program in one classroom. Note: Cost information is subject to change. Confirm current costs with publisher.


This culturally competent and Research-Validated alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use prevention curriculum teaches drug-resistance skills to middle school students. Activities in the ten, 45-minute sequential lessons are aimed at teaching students the skills to Refuse, Explain, Avoid, or Leave (REAL) in drug-related situations. The activities include cooperative learning, group discussion, problem solving, and role-plays. Students learn how to act decisively and communicate assertively when refusing offers to use drugs, how to explain clearly why they choose not to engage in drug use or other risky behavior, how to recognize and avoid drug-related situations, and how to get out of risky situations. The accompanying video created by a diverse cast of youth depicts realistic, peer-pressured scenarios that model the skills featured in the lessons. The teacher guide includes step-by-step guidance for teaching each of the lessons. The student workbook (in English and Spanish) includes work sheets for all activities.

Download Fidelity Guidelines & Checklist for keeping it REAL


This study examined the impact of a culturally grounded, school-based substance-use prevention program on the substance-use-related attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors of middle school students in the urban Southwest who were considered to be at risk due to poverty and other factors such as immigration status, English acquisition, and acculturation stress. Method: The research team stratified 35 public schools by enrollment and ethnicity (percent Hispanic) and used block randomization to assign each school to one of four curriculum conditions (Mexican American, Black/White, Multicultural, or control). After a pre-intervention questionnaire was administered to all participants, three parallel versions of a ten-session classroom curriculum was implemented in seventh grade classes in intervention schools: a Mexican American-centered version (Mexican American); a non-Mexican American-centered version (Black/White); and a Multicultural version developed by incorporating five lessons each from the first two versions. Teachers used English and/or Spanish versions of the materials. During the summer, a bilingual television public service announcement and outdoor billboard campaign was provided in communities serving both intervention and control schools. When the students in intervention schools were in eighth grade, they received school-based booster sessions, followed by another questionnaire. Final questionnaires were administered 14 months after complete program implementation. Results: Use of alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana increased over time for both the intervention and control students. However, the increase was significantly less for students who received any variation of the program. In a second set of analyses, both the Mexican American and the Multicultural versions of the curriculum demonstrated significant decreases in alcohol, marijuana, and overall substance use, and decreases in acceptability for peers to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. A third set of analyses to examine if matching the content of the program to the culture/ethnicity of the student enhanced the outcomes of the program uncovered very few significant differences.

Hecht, M.L., Marsiglia, F.F., Elek, E., Wagstaff, D. A., Kulis, S., Dustman, P., & Miller-Day, M. (2003). Culturally-grounded substance use prevention: An evaluation of the keepin' it R.E.A.L. curriculum. Prevention Science, 4(4), 233-248.

Reviewers' Notes

While this curriculum does not delve deeply into the core concepts of drug use, it is very strong in skill development. Teachers will want to know that the video depicts youth simulating drug use including smoking a joint and snorting lines of cocaine.

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