The Development and Evaluation of the Ho’Ouna Pono Drug Prevention Curriculum

Principal Investigator: Scott K. Okamoto

Funding: National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse R01DA037836 (2015-2019)

Native Hawaiian youth have significantly higher rates of drug use than their non-Hawaiian counterparts, and these differences are particularly pronounced in rural settings.  Despite this, there are few drug prevention programs developed and evaluated specifically for these youth.  Funded by NIDA, this new five-year study continues the work to complete the development of a video-centered, culturally-grounded, school-based drug prevention curriculum, Ho'ouna Pono, created specifically for rural Native Hawaiian youth.  The project also includes an evaluation component to determine the impact of the curriculum on students in all public middle and/or intermediate schools on Hawai'i Island (also known as the Big Island).  This implementation and evaluation will be accomplished through three specific aims. In this, the first year of the project, AIM 1 (Year 1) is to develop the curriculum fully by including two additional lessons focused on gender differences in substance use/abuse and bullying prevention. These lessons add to the substantial focus on substance abuse prevention and resistance strategies already contained in the original seven lesson curriculum.  Prior to this expanded study, five professionally filmed video vignettes depicting drug-related problem situations specific to rural Hawaiian youth and seven interactive classroom lessons were created, implemented in randomly selected intervention schools, and preliminarily evaluated using a pre-test, post-test control group design. The current project builds upon this work by producing two new video vignettes, re-editing aBehind the Scenes video, developing additional classroom activities for two additional lessons centered on the content of the two new videos, and synthesizing the new content with the existing curriculum.  The next step, AIM 2 (Years 2-3), will be to evaluate the fully conceived and implemented curriculum across all middle/intermediate schools on Hawai'i Island (N = 15) using a dynamic wait-listed control group design allowing for delayed intervention delivery at all original control school sites, once the randomized controlled trial is completed.  The final process, AIM 3 (Year 4), will be to assess community, systemic, and curricular factors related to the implementation, adoption, and sustainability of the curriculum within public middle and/or intermediate schools on Hawaii Island.