Grant Recipient: Minnesota Department of Human Services and Department of Management and Budget
Term: 2019 –2024
Summary: LifeSkills Training (LST) — a middle school substance use prevention program — has the strongest evidence of sizable and sustained impacts of any such prevention program rigorously evaluated to date. In two well-conducted, independent randomized controlled trials (RCTs), LST was found to produce 10 – 20% reductions in the likelihood of youth smoking or drinking heavily, five to six years after random assignment. One of the RCTs also measured illicit drug use and found suggestive evidence of sizable reductions
Under this project, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in partnership with the state’s Department of Management and Budget, will work with school districts across the state of Minnesota to provide LST to around 14,000 middle school students at 40 schools over four years. These funds will cover the cost of curriculum materials and training of teachers (about $30 per student per year) plus additional costs (about $60 per student per year) primarily for recruiting schools into the project and insuring teachers receive the necessary technical assistance to ensure faithful implementation of the intervention.
Participating Minnesota school districts, in partnership with state agencies, will also participate in an RCT to determine whether the large impacts found in the prior RCTs of LST in Iowa and New York State can be reproduced on a bigger scale in Minnesota. Importantly, this will be the first large RCT of LST since the start of the opioid epidemic and will be the first to directly measure LST’s effects on youth opioid use.