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NDAP Evaluation Cover Letter

Letter Head: Jack O'Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Phone number 916-319-0800

Date: February 24, 2005

Dear County and District Superintendents, and Charter School Administrators:

ACCURATE AND EFFECTIVE DRUG PREVENTION PROGRAMS

The California Department of Education (CDE) received inquiries regarding the appropriateness of using the Narconon Drug Abuse and Prevention Program materials and speakers in public schools. In response to these questions, I asked the California Healthy Kids Resource Center (CHKRC) to evaluate the Narconon program.

The CHKRC found that:

  • Narconon's drug prevention program information does not reflect accurate, widely-accepted medical and scientific evidence;

  • Some information is misleading because it is overstated or does not distinguish between drug use and abuse;

  • Narconon's elementary, middle, and high school presentations are inadequately differentiated to the students' age group and level of understanding;

  • Narconon's program is often inconsistent with research-based practice;

  • Narconon's presentations are lecture-oriented and provide limited opportunities for student interaction;

  • Narconon uses ex-addicts to teach drug prevention. The use of ex-addicts may lead students to believe drug use really is not risky; and

  • Narconon uses questioning strategies that may reinforce student perceptions that drug abuse is more common than it actually is. This undermines the normative education component of the science-based drug prevention programs addressing social influences.

The Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Act (SDFSC) requires schools to use funds to support prevention programs for which scientific research provides evidence that the program actually reduces or prevents violence and drug use.

Fortunately, many programs are available to schools that have evidence of efficacy in preventing violence or drug use. Every school should focus on implementing the science-based programs and research-based activities listed in the Local Education Agency (LEA) Plan filed by school districts, county offices of education, and direct-funded charter schools. Those programs and activities have been rigorously evaluated and found to provide accurate information, effective instruction, and reduce drug use or violence.

For more information on these LEA Plans, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/nclb/sr/le/.

For a copy of the California Healthy Kids Resource Center's report, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/at/narcononevaluation.asp.

If you have any further questions, please contact the Safe and Healthy Kids Program Office at 916- 319-0920.

Sincerely,

ORIGINAL SIGNED BY

JACK O'CONNELL

JO:gw

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