Substance abuse prevention for grades 7 & 8

Easy to Adopt and Proven to Work

The Project ALERT curriculum was created and tested by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. Developed over a ten-year period, Project ALERT addresses the pro-drug mindset of today’s teens and effectively increases their likelihood to remain drug-free.

Self-paced Training

Introducing Project ALERT to your classroom is easy with our online training program. You control the pace of your training, and we’re always available to answer questions and offer support.

The online training was designed to be completed in about 5 to 6 hours, but will vary by user. You must do all 11 core and 3 booster lessons to receive your certificate. It will be emailed to you within 24 hours of completion

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Preview Module

Convenient Lesson Plans

Your curriculum resources include fourteen easy-to-follow lessons, all available in our convenient eReader or as a download. Each lesson includes implementation hints, reference materials and handouts that you can email directly to your students. 

To access all 14 Project ALERT Lesson Plans plus the lesson on prescription opioids and heroin, click here

Hard copies of materials are no longer available. Everything is freely available at the link above.  

Preview Lesson 1

12 Projectable Classroom Posters

When information is communicated visually, it's easier for many students to absorb. For that reason, 12 projectable posters are included to support the goals of the Project ALERT curriculum. To preview the posters, select an image thumbnail.

View posters here.

Online Interactive Student Videos

Most Project ALERT lesson plans are supported by a short video. Featuring candid interviews with older teens and fictional depictions of common situations, these videos amplify lessons by providing helpful conversation starters or setting up role play activities. 

Full length videos can be accessed from Resources.

  • Clearing the air
  • Lindsay's choice
  • Paul's fix
  • Pot or not?
  • Pot: the party crasher
  • Resisting peer pressure
  • Saying "no" to drugs


Project ALERT classroom videos are now available for streaming and download on via iTunes Podcast.

Electronic Newsletters

The ALERT Educator includes teaching tips, new trends in substance abuse, related research and other useful information.  You can view, share and save the current newsletter right here or you can join our mailing list.

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What's New

Project ALERT Adds Opioid Lesson to Core Curriculum

Over the last 18 months, Project ALERT staff have been working to develop material on opioids that would be relevant for the times and would resonate with young students.  Given the current opioid epidemic we are experiencing in the United States, the consensus among researchers, educators, clinicians, and public health officials is that drug prevention education programming in 2018 should include a focus on opioids.  Additional support for the new addition to the curriculum stems from the fact that prescription pain medication is the most common gateway drug to heroin.

We knew that developing a new core component would be quite an undertaking. Although it is a time-sensitive topic, we felt it necessary to carefully review the current research literature on youth prevention of opioid misuse and craft a research- and theory-informed module that was consistent with the overall theme and structure of Project ALERT. Familiar elements of student-involved lecture, roleplays, homework, and informational handouts comprise the lesson.

The lesson was pilot tested in several classrooms in the spring of 2018 to obtain facilitator, student, and teacher feedback. Based on some excellent comments we received, we made some refinements to ensure that that lesson is engaging and appropriate for the target audience of Project ALERT.  However, given the urgency of prescription drug misuse by youth and the increasing number of deaths related to opioid use disorder, we believe it is prudent and most responsible to release this lesson now, prior to subjecting the lesson to the same rigorous evaluation that the original Project ALERT curriculum received. Such randomized controlled trials are infrequent in the school-based drug prevention world, but are nonetheless necessary. Though we plan to include this lesson within the larger Project ALERT curriculum as part of a large research study in which we again evaluate the effectiveness of Project ALERT on preventing youth substance use, we encourage educators to use this lesson during the present school year, alongside the other evidence-based lessons included in the full Project ALERT program

The new lesson (Alternate Lesson 8) and all supplementary materials are available here.   

Project ALERT’s Dr. Pam Luna on NPR

In early March, Alex Cohen of southern California radio station KPCC interviewed Project ALERT senior trainer Dr. Pam Luna on the topic of the state’s recently-approved recreational marijuana legislation and its potential impact on youth.

The file is available here for download.

Information For Your State