Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND)

Program snapshot

Age group: Adolescence (12-17)

Gender: Mixed (male and female)

Population served: Visible minority/ethnic group

Topic: Academic issues; Alcohol and/or drug use

Setting: Urban area; School-based

Location: Ontario

Number of completed Canadian outcome evaluation studies: 1

Continuum of intervention: Secondary crime prevention

Brief Description

Project Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) is a school-based program consisting of twelve 40- to 50-minute lessons that include motivational activities, social skills training, and decision-making components that are delivered through group discussions, games, role-playing exercises, videos, and student worksheets over a 4-week period.

The program is centered on leadership and youth development; school-based strategies; skills training; social emotional learning; and substance prevention/treatment.


The main goals of Project TND are to:

  • Reduce or eliminate the use of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and hard drugs;
  • Reduce or eliminate weapon carrying; and
  • Increase demonstrations of behavioural and cognitive coping skills among the students.


The appropriate clientele for Project TND are youth between the ages of 14 and 19, including students from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Participants are referred by the school boards’ alternative education, expulsion and suspension programs. To participate in the program, youth must be in school. They must also possess a risk of committing drug- and substance-related crimes.

Core Components

Project TND consists of 12 classroom-based sessions, each ranging from 40 to 50 minutes in length. The 12 classroom-based components include the following:

  • Active listening: This session is designed to motivate students to communicate effectively and listen to program material with an open mind. The primary activity is a classroom discussion, in which students discuss the importance of active listening;
  • Stereotyping: The primary activity is a classroom discussion in which students define stereotyping and learn that believing stereotypes can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies that put one at risk for engaging in self-defeating behaviours;
  • Myths and denials: The primary activity is a classroom discussion in which students identify myths associated with drug use, learn how to distinguish truth from lies, and learn how people use various beliefs to deny or justify their drug abuse;
  • Chemical dependency: This session provides students with information about chemical dependency and delineates the negative consequences of drug abuse;
  • Talk show: The primary activity is a talk show in which students play the role of guests who have been affected by drug abuse. Through the use of a question/answer format, students learn about the physical, emotional, and social consequences of drug abuse;
  • Stress, health & goals: The primary activity is a classroom discussion in which students define stress, examine sources of stress in their lives, and review strategies for dealing with stress;
  • Tobacco basketball and use cessation: The primary activity is a "tobacco basketball" question and answer game that students play in order to review information about the consequences of tobacco use;
  • Self-control: The primary activity is a classroom discussion and role play in which students define self-control, provide examples of contexts in which self-control is needed, and learn the consequences of having poor self-control;
  • Marijuana panel: The primary activity is a psychodrama panel discussion in which panelists discuss the consequences of marijuana abuse from a variety of perspectives;
  • Positive and negative thought and behaviour loops: The primary activity is a classroom discussion in which students learn how positive thinking, choices, and behaviour, or negative thinking, choices, and behaviours are tied together as process "loops";
  • Perspectives: The primary activity is a demonstration in which students discuss what it means to have a radical, moderate, and traditional view about a social issue; and
  • Decision-making and commitment: The primary activity begins with a discussion of steps in the decision making process. The students practice using the process by considering a hypothetical scenario involving alcohol use, completing a decision making worksheet, and discussing their choice.

Implementation Information

Some of the critical elements for the implementation of this program or initiative include the following:

  • Organizational requirements: In order for the program to be effective, all of the sessions need to be taught. In addition, the sessions need to be taught as written in the teacher’s manual, utilizing the content and instructional techniques that are specified.
  • Partnerships: The success of Project TND depends on its partnerships with schools and school boards.
  • Training and technical assistance: It is strongly recommended that every teacher who implements Project TND participates in a training workshop conducted by a certified Project TND trainer prior to beginning delivery of the program. The University of Southern California Institute for Prevention Research offers in-person training workshops that last either one or two days.
  • Risk assessment tools: Limited information on this topic.
  • Materials & resources: The materials required for implementation include the Teacher’s Manual and one copy of the Student Workbook for each student, which may be kept or used as a reference book. There is a video for use in Session 12, which is optional. The classroom should be equipped with a chalkboard. The use of an overhead projector or computer with PowerPoint software is optional.

International Endorsements

The most recognized classification systems of evidence-based crime prevention programs have classified this program or initiative as follows:

  • Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development: Model
  • Crime Solutions/OJJDP Model Program Guide: No Effects - More than one study
  • SAMHSA's National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices: 2.9 - 3.4
  • Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy: Not applicable.

Gathering Canadian Knowledge

Canadian Implementation Sites

Public Safety Canada’s National Crime Prevention Strategy provided funding to implement Project TND in various schools within the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board and the Hamilton-Wentworth District Catholic School Board in Hamilton, Ontario between 2009 and 2014. Project TND was implemented by the John Howard Society of Hamilton.

Main Findings from Canadian Outcome Evaluation Studies

As part of Public Safety Canada’s funding, an outcome evaluation studyFootnote1 of Project TND was conducted from 2009 to 2014 by the John Howard Society of Hamilton. The evaluation was done through a quasi-experimental, between-group design and mixed repeated measures. The within-group repeated measures design involved the administration of self-report questionnaires at four stages: pre-intervention; immediately post intervention; 6 months post-intervention; and 12 months post-intervention. For the community-component, a within-group repeated measures design was used but with no comparison group. Qualitative analyses of focus group and key informant interview data were also conducted. The experimental group sample included both the school-based component (n=950) and the community-based component (n=51).

Results from this evaluation showed the following:

  • Approximately six months after participating in the program, Project TND participants looked quite similar to the comparison group on many of the outcomes. This indicates that participation in Project TND is having a limited impact on the anticipated skills and behaviour outcomes at six months post-program. One exception is that on the knowledge outcome Project TND participants continued to have higher test scores than the comparison group indicating that Project TND participation had a positive impact on knowledge. Unfortunately, this increased level of knowledge does not appear to have been translated into similar positive changes in skills or behaviour.

For more information, refer to the National Crime Prevention Centre’s (2014) publication.

Cost Information

Between 2010 and 2014, the cost per youth involved in Project TND was approximately $540 (CAD) (National Crime Prevention Centre, 2014).


National Crime Prevention Centre. (2014). Results from the Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) Project. Evaluation Summary. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada. Available from:

National Crime Prevention Centre. (2015). Results from the Towards No Drug Abuse (TND) Project. Evaluation Summary. Ottawa, ON: Public Safety Canada.

For more information on this program, contact:

USC Institute for Prevention Research
Soto Street Building, 3rd Floor
2001 North Soto Street
Los Angeles, California 90032
Telephone: 1 (800) 400-8461

Record Entry Date - 2018-03-09
Record Updated On - 2021-04-29
  1. 1

    A process evaluation study of the program was also conducted through Public Safety Canada’s funding. For more information, communicate with the Research Division, Public Safety Canada.

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