Frequently Asked Questions

Program Approach/Target Group

Question: Is Project TND a selective, indicated, or universal program?

Drug abuse prevention programs developed for regular high school youth generally are referred to as “universal” programs when all youth participate, regardless of the level of risk. Programs developed for alternative high school youth are referred to as “selective” programs because these teens are at relatively higher psychosocial or behavioral risk for drug abuse. Project TND has been shown to work for both populations. Thus, it can be considered a universal program when implemented in the traditional high school setting since all youth are targeted, and a selective program (targeted for those at high psychosocial risk for drug abuse, who have not yet started using drugs) when delivered in an alternative school setting. Community-based programs could also be either universal or targeted programs, depending on the clientele being served.

Question: With what age group can this program be implemented? Can 7th-graders and 8th-graders participate in the program?

The target group for the program is youth ages 14 to 19. We strongly recommend that the program not be used for students in the middle school grades (6th-8th). It is possible that the program could be effective for that age group, but we have not evaluated it for any age group other than high school.

Question: Will TND work for young teens (i.e., 12 year-olds)?

It is doubtful that TND will be effective with young teens because (1) comprehensive social influence programs tend to be more effective for youth who are first trying drugs, and TND is a motivation-skills-decision making program (more intrapersonal oriented); and (2) many of the concepts referred to in TND (e.g. stereotyping) are too conceptually abstract for a young teen-level of development.

Question: What is the reading level of the curriculum materials?

The material in the TND student workbook is written at an 8th-grade reading level. This estimate is based on the SMOG readability test (McLaughlin, 1969).

Question: What group size works best with this curriculum?

The class size should be determined by the individual school or district. We have taught the program in regular high schools to classes as large as 35 students. In alternative high schools, it is best to have a class with ten or more students; however, it can be taught to a group as small as 5 students, if necessary.

Question: Does the curriculum cover peer pressure and peer influences to use drugs?

The program does not address peer pressure directly. It is a program developed for older teens for whom “just say no” type programs are likely to be rejected and, in fact, may do harm. However, Project TND does touch on aspects of peer pressure and peer influences. For example, Session 2 addresses students’ tendency to overestimate rates of drug use by their peers, and makes the point that such overestimates may influence young people to use drugs. In Session 3, we make the point that if all of your friends are drug users and you stop using, they may remain your friends, but not if your friendship was constructed around drug use. Also, true friendship that lasts generally is not based on using drugs together. In Session 5, students learn how one’s drug use can affect relations with friends.


Question: Is training necessary?

We strongly recommend that teachers, or other program implementers, receive Project TND training from a certified TND trainer, before implementing the program. However, training is not mandatory. Our evaluation studies show that the program is effective when implemented by teachers who received a two-day training workshop conducted by a certified TND trainer.

Question: What is the difference between a one- and two-day training workshop?

In general, we recommend that sites provide a two-day training that is conducted by one of our certified TND trainers. Our rationale for this recommendation is as follows. In our research on Project TND, the health education staff and regular classroom teachers who implemented the program participated in a two-day workshop before they began program delivery. Thus, we know that program effects can be achieved when teachers and other implementers have been trained for 2 days. To date, we have not evaluated the effectiveness of the program when teachers/implementers receive a one-day training workshop.

However, we do offer both types of training workshops. We have two reasons for doing so. First, we know that many districts and community organizations do not have the funds to sponsor a two-day workshop. Second, we believe that at least a minimal training is essential for effective program implementation. The goal of both workshops is to prepare participants to effectively implement the Project TND curriculum. 

The primary difference between the one- and two-day training workshops relates to the amount of time available for participants to practice delivery of some of the program activities. In both workshops, we begin with a 45-minute introduction to the program, describing the theories that it is based on, the outcomes of our program evaluation research, and the content and teaching methods used throughout. In the two-day workshop, we spend the rest of the first day modeling some of the sessions and describing others. In the second day, participants are asked to practice teaching key activities, after which they receive feedback from other trainees and the trainer. In the one-day workshop, for the remainder of the day, the trainer models some of the sessions and describes the others.

Question: How many people can participate in the training workshops?

We would like a minimum of 5 participants, and a maximum of 20.

Question: How does one become a certified trainer?

In order to be eligible for certification as a Project TND trainer, one must provide verification that he/she has:

  • Taught the entire Project TND curriculum program to the appropriate target group (youth ages 14-19) in a classroom-based setting.
  • Attended a two-day Project TND training workshop that was conducted by one of our certified trainers.

After meeting the above eligibility criteria, the potential trainer:

  • Conducts a two-day Project TND training workshop, with at least 5 attendees, which is observed by one of our certified trainers. Then, he/she is given a “pass” or a “fail” grade. If the potential trainer receives a “pass” grade, he/she is conditionally certified.
  • The certified trainer mst contact TND offices annually to check on curriculum and material updates.
  • If you are interested in becoming a certified trainer, we suggest that you contact us, and we will provide information about the costs of the certification process.

Question: How do I schedule training in my local area?

Most of the time, we provide an on-site training workshop for each individual school district or community organization at the specific time and place selected by the organization. If an organization would like to share the costs of a training with another organization, we will provide contact information for others that may want to do the same thing, and it is up to the individual organizations to make the arrangements for a joint training.

Program Materials

Question: How long does it take to get materials? Can materials be returned for a refund?

You will receive the materials within two weeks. If you need them sooner than two weeks, please call (800) 400-8461. All sales are final.

Question: Is there a price break or discount if we order a large amount of materials?

Most of our purchasers order large amounts; therefore, we do not normally give discounts. If you order 5000 workbooks or more, we will reduce the dollar amount from $12 each to $10 each.

Question: Are the materials copyrighted?

Yes, the materials are copyrighted by the University of Southern California.

Question: Can we reproduce the materials?

Please do not reproduce the teacher’s Manual, Student Workbook pages, and/or the video. The evaluation instruments and articles can be downloaded, free of charge, from this website and photocopied.

Question: Do we have to purchase a student workbook for each student?

We strongly recommend that you purchase one workbook for each student. That is the way the program was implemented in our program evaluation studies. Our intent is that the workbook be a “consumable” product that students can take home after the program is completed. However, if your organization does not have enough funds to purchase a workbook for each student, it is possible to use the workbooks as a classroom set. In that case, the teacher must ask the students to leave the pages in the classroom workbooks blank, and instead, have them write their answers on separate sheets of paper.

Question: Do we have to purchase the video?

The video is no longer a required component of the program. However, it has excellent testimonials from young people who have first-hand experience with the consequences of drug use. Please note the video is dated.

Question: Do you provide a copy of the game board, name tags, signs, and other materials that are referred to in the curriculum?

The TND game board is now available for purchase. In addition, we have provided a template for the TND game board in the Teacher′s Manual. If you prefer, you can print it out and mount it on cardboard or laminate it yourself. The Supplemental Teaching Tools CD contains templates for the name tags used in Session 5 (Talk Show), the name tags used in Session 9 (Marijuana Panel), the signs used in Session 11, and the Self-assistance Toolkit used in Session 4. It is provided free of charge when a Teacher’s Manual is ordered.

Question: Are any of the materials available in Spanish?

Yes, we now have the 3nd Edition Student Workbook translated into Spanish. We also have the 2nd Edition Teacher’s Manual and the Student Workbooks available in Spanish. If you are interested in obtaining materials in Spanish, please contact us.

Program Implementation (Progam Schedule)

Question: How many times a week should I teach the program in order to get the same results that you reported in your program evaluation studies?

In our evaluation studies, we taught Project TND 3 times a week over a 4-week period. We know this type of schedule produces favorable outcomes; that is why we strongly recommend it. However, if such a schedule is not possible in your school, the length of the program period could be expanded to 6 weeks, teaching 2 lessons per week. We do not recommend a schedule of less than one, and greater than 3, lessons per week. Also, the optimal teaching schedule probably will vary across settings. For example, teaching the program 4 sessions per week over a 3-week period may work at traditional high schools. However, this schedule may be more difficult in schools in which students are more likely to be absent on Mondays or Fridays (e.g. in alternative high schools).

Question: Do I have to teach all the lessons? Do I have to teach them in order?

We know that Project TND works when it is implemented as written, which includes teaching all of the lessons, in the order outlined in the Teacher’s Manual. In order to ensure that the program is effective in your school, teachers need to teach the program with fidelity (i.e., as it was designed).

Question: Can I divide the sessions up, and teach them over two days?

Each session is designed to be implemented in a 45-minute time period. We strongly recommend that you teach each session as written, and try to complete it in one 45- to 50-minute period. Sometimes teachers find that it takes more than 45 minutes to complete a lesson, in which case it would be okay to finish the lesson the next time that the class meets. The most flexibility in a lesson is contained in the review activities. If at all possible, the review should be the activity moved to the next class meeting.

Question: I have block periods. Can I teach your project during the first half and my health curriculum the second half?

We strongly recommend that Project TND lessons be taught in 45- to 50-minute periods. If you have a block schedule at your school, we do not recommend teaching more than one Project TND lesson during any given time block. After you finish the TND lesson, what you teach during the remainder of the time block is your decision. Other health curriculum material is not likely to affect the outcomes of Project TND.

Question: How can I get through my regular curriculum and teach your program?

This is something you will need to work out with your school and school district administrators. Usually, districts ask that you replace your regular curriculum with this one.

Program Implementation (Classroom Process)

Question: When teaching the program, can I use some of my own videos, handouts, articles and brochures?

During the period of Project TND implementation, we recommend you use only our video (in Session 12) and the student materials provided in the Teacher’s Manual. If you plan to supplement Project TND with other drug prevention material, we strongly recommend that you use only materials that have been evaluated in scientific research studies and shown to be effective, and you do so at another time (i.e., after you have completed the TND lessons).

Question: We have thought about using two health educators to co-teach the program. Do you think this would be an effective approach?

In all of our evaluation studies, we have used only one educator per classroom. Because we do not know if the program is effective when educators co-teach, or take turns implementing the lessons, we would encourage you to use only one educator per classroom in which the program is delivered.

Question: When implementing the curriculum, can we talk about our personal experiences?

We strongly encourage you not to talk about your own experiences with drug use or non-use. You are more likely to be viewed by them as a positive role model who has credibility, if you do not discuss your own drug use behaviors.

Question: What do we need to report (to school officials) in relation to students’ drug use?

Districts and schools have their own policies on reporting student drug use. You need to find out what your school’s policy is. Also, at the beginning of Project TND, it is important to tell the students what the school policy is on reporting drug use.

Evaluation Research

Question: Have your evaluation studies included students from rural and inner-city schools?

Yes. The students that have participated in our research come from diverse geographic, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We have tested the program in both alternative and regular high schools. These schools have been located in inner-city, suburban, and rural areas.

Question: The participation of African Americans seems low in your research samples. Do you have data that shows this program works with that population?

In our regular high school study (TND-1b), the percentage of African American students that participated was 26%. We examined differences in program effects by ethnicity, and found that the program was effective for all students, regardless of their ethnic background.

Question: How do you know that students have told the truth on your surveys?

The pattern of students’ responses shows a replicable pattern across time and location regarding relative prevalence of different drugs and associations of drug use with other items (e.g. risk taking, other problem behavior). Multiple measures of drug use are used (e.g. lifetime, monthly); data collection employs multiple methods (anonymous data collection, confidential data collection, pipeline protocol, biochemical – CO meter validation); and research designs compare relative differences between students that receive Project TND and those that receive “standard care,” controlling for response biases (experimental designs).