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CORE measure reporting: alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

Billions of Federal dollars have been invested in school and community-based drug education programs through grant programs such as Safe and Drug Free Schools (SDFSCA) and Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFCSP). In most cases to become eligible for funding, at a minimum data on alcohol, tobacco and marijuana behaviors for students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 must be procured. The purpose of this article is to twofold: first to identify the specific alcohol, tobacco and marijuana data sets required for reporting and second, to present an assessment approach.

Over the years many schools and community agencies have used surveys for both procuring needs assessment data as well as to determine program effectiveness. Some of the popular surveys used include the American Drug and Alcohol Survey, Communities that Care, CSAP Substance Abuse Risk and Protective Factor Survey, PRIDE survey, Search Institute Survey, and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (CDC). Each of these surveys vary in length and while they are all sound they do not necessarily provide data required for Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFCSP) grant reporting.

After years of analysis of grantee reports and national survey data, certain factors were identified as being instrumental in predisposing youth to drug use--specifically alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Because behaviors and perceptions regarding the factors are so important they have been identified as CORE measures. Further, the government requires successful grantees to provide data on these factors every two years. These CORE measures include: age of onset, 30 day use, perceived threat of harm, and parental disapproval. The Battelle Institute in conjunction with the Association for the Study and Development of Community developed questions that can be used to assess CORE measures. These twelve questions are as follows:

Alcohol

Average Age of Onset

How old were you when you first: had more than one sip or two of beer, wine, or hard liquor (for example: vodka, whiskey, or gin)?

1. never have

2. 10 or younger

3. 11

4. 12

5. 13

6. 14

7. 15

8. 16

9. 17 or older

Past 30 Day Use

On how many occasions (if any) have you had beer, wine, or hard liquor during the past 30 days?

1. 0 occasions

2. 1-2 occasions

3. 3-5 occasions

4. 6-9 occasions

5. 10-19 occasions

6. 20-39 occasions

7. 40 or more occasions

Perception of Risk

How much do you think people risk harming themselves (physically or in other ways) if they: Take one or two drinks of an alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, liquor) nearly every day?

1. no risk

2. slight risk

3. moderate risk

4. great risk

Perception of Parental Disapproval

How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to: Drink beer, wine or hard liquor (for example, vodka, whiskey or gin) regularly (at least twice a month)?

1. very wrong

2. wrong

3. a little bit wrong

4. not wrong at all

Tobacco

Average Age of Onset

How old were you when you first smoked a cigarette, even a puff?

1. never have

2. 10 or younger

3. 11

4. 12

5. 13

6. 14

7. 15

8. 16

9. 17 or older

Past 30 Day Use

How frequently have you smoked cigarettes during the past 30 days?

1. not at all

2. less than one cigarette per day

3. one to five cigarettes per day

4. about one-half pack per day

5. about one pack per day

6. about one and one-half pack per day

7. two packs or more per day

Perception of Risk

How much do you think people risk harming themselves (physically or in other ways) if they smoke one or more packs of cigarettes per day

1. no risk

2. slight risk

3. moderate risk

4. great risk

Perception of Parental Disapproval

How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to smoke cigarettes?

1. very wrong

2. wrong

3. a little bit wrong

4. not wrong at all

Marijuana

Average Age of Onset

How old were you when you first smoked marijuana?

1. never have

2. 10 or younger

3. 11

4. 12

5. 13

6. 14

7. 15

8. 16

9. 17 or older

Past 30 Day Use

On how many occasions (if any) have you used marijuana in the past 30 days?

1. 0 occasions

2. 1-2 occasions

3. 3-5 occasions

4. 6-9 occasions

5. 10-19 occasions

6. 20-39 occasions

7. 40 or more occasions

Perception of Risk

How much do you think people risk harming themselves (physically or in other ways) if they smoke marijuana regularly?

1. no risk

2. slight risk

3. moderate risk

4. great risk

Perception of Parental Disapproval

How wrong do your parents feel it would be for you to smoke marijuana?

1. very wrong

2. wrong

3. a little bit wrong

4. not wrong at all

If students are surveyed using these twelve questions then the requirement for assessing CORE measures will have been met. However, the twelve questions above only provide information on the CORE measures. If additional information regarding drug use behaviors is needed (e.g. opiate use, ecstasy, cocaine) or other risk behaviors (e.g. safety, bullying, depression) then additional questions would need to be used. In most instances (1) other information is needed to determine if program objectives have been reached and (2) an instrument has been identified that will be used in the program evaluation. Most likely the evaluation instrument will need to be modified to include the above 12 questions.

The Battelle Institute and the Association for the Study and Development of Community has provided a great service in reviewing the alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana questions in all the major surveys and developing a set of questions that will satisfy the CORE measure requirement. As a result, CORE measure assessment is clear, concise, and easy to report.

Adding the twelve CORE measures questions to an existing survey is one strategy that can be effective. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (CDC) is easily modifiable to include the CORE measure questions. In fact, 30 day usage and age of onset are asked in the YRBS. You may consider altering the question responses for the age of onset questions (e.g. How old were you when you smoked whole cigarette for the first time). The responses for the question are in categorical form (e.g. 11 or 12 years old). If the responses are altered to include individual ages then establishing the age of onset becomes much easier.

Gathering risk behavior data is critical for the effectiveness of prevention strategies in the school system and community. These measure help prevention specialist target appropriate strategies that can make a difference in the child's behavior. This is about more than gathering grant funds; it is about impacting the life of a child. Collecting appropriate data can make a difference.

References

Battelle Institute and the Association for the Study and Development of Community (2006). A Guide to Reporting the Four CORE Measures Required of Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFSCP) Grantees. Gaithersburg, MD: The Association for the Study and Development of Community.

By David N. Sallee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Bridgewater College

Kerry J. Redican, MPH, Ph.D., Professor Virginia Tech
COPYRIGHT 2006 Virginia Association for Health, Physical Education and Dance
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Article Details
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Author:Sallee, David N.; Redican, Kerry J.
Publication:VAHPERD Journal
Geographic Code:1U5VA
Date:Sep 22, 2006
Words:1196
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