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Did We Get Our Money’s Worth? Bridging Economic and Behavioral Measures of Program Success in Adolescent Drug Prevention
Research Facilitation Team (RFT), Army Analytics Group, 20 Ryan Ranch Road, Suite 290, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
Positive Psychology Center/RFT, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2013; in revised form: 25 October 2013 / Accepted: 28 October 2013 / Published: 8 November 2013
Abstract: The recent U.S. Congressional mandate for creating drug-free learning environments in elementary and secondary schools stipulates that education reform rely on accountability, parental and community involvement, local decision making, and use of evidence-based drug prevention programs. By necessity, this charge has been paralleled by increased interest in demonstrating that drug prevention programs net tangible benefits to society. One pressing concern is precisely how to integrate traditional scientific methods of program evaluation with economic measures of “cost efficiency”. The languages and methods of each respective discipline don’t necessarily converge on how to establish the true benefits of drug prevention. This article serves as a primer for conducting economic analyses of school-based drug prevention programs. The article provides the reader with a foundation in the relevant principles, methodologies, and benefits related to conducting economic analysis. Discussion revolves around how economists value the potential costs and benefits, both financial and personal, from implementing school-based drug prevention programs targeting youth. Application of heterogeneous costing methods coupled with widely divergent program evaluation findings influences the feasibility of these techniques and may hinder utilization of these practices. Determination of cost-efficiency should undoubtedly become one of several markers of program success and contribute to the ongoing debate over health policy.
Keywords: opportunity cost; cost benefit; valuation; cost effectiveness; program efficacy; statistical mediation; economic analysis
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MDPI and ACS Style
Griffith, K.N.; Scheier, L.M. Did We Get Our Money’s Worth? Bridging Economic and Behavioral Measures of Program Success in Adolescent Drug Prevention. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 5908-5935.
Griffith KN, Scheier LM. Did We Get Our Money’s Worth? Bridging Economic and Behavioral Measures of Program Success in Adolescent Drug Prevention. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2013; 10(11):5908-5935.
Griffith, Kevin N.; Scheier, Lawrence M. 2013. "Did We Get Our Money’s Worth? Bridging Economic and Behavioral Measures of Program Success in Adolescent Drug Prevention." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 10, no. 11: 5908-5935.