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Project ALERT returns to RAND

Dear Educators: 

In September of 2013, many of you received a letter from the BEST Foundation about changes to the status of Project ALERT.  We are pleased to inform you that Project ALERT will soon be returning to The RAND Corporation.  As you may recall, Project ALERT was founded and first evaluated for effectiveness by RAND before being transferred to the BEST Foundation in 1991.  RAND’s research was the basis for Project ALERT becoming the most widely used substance abuse prevention program of its kind. 

Rest assured that very little about Project ALERT will change during the transition of the program from the BEST Foundation to RAND.  The high-quality website materials, accessibility of Project ALERT staff, the ALERT Educator e-newsletter, and training modules for Project ALERT will continue to be available without interruption.  Moreover, the online training found on the Project ALERT website (, as well as all training materials on the site will continue to be offered at no charge.  Questions about training, implementation, and materials will continue to be answered through the Project ALERT hotline at 1-800-ALERT-10 and through our contact form on the website.  We also encourage you to sign up for the Project ALERT e-newsletter, “like” our Facebook page, and subscribe to our YouTube channel; all which can be done on the home page of the Project ALERT website.

As you know, Project ALERT is an evidence-based prevention program for middle school youth. Many of you have implemented the program in your schools.  In fact, the program is currently being used in over 4,000 school districts and by upwards of 21,000 middle school and community educators.  It is the most widely disseminated evidence-based prevention program for youth and has been designated as an exemplary program by the U.S. Department of Education and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.  Project ALERT is also listed in the lauded National Registry for Evidence-Based Programs and Practices and has received the highest marks of all the programs on the registry for the quality of research behind it.  In sum, Project ALERT is effective, accessible, and known for its ease of implementation.  Most importantly, students respond well to the lessons. 

RAND is fully committed to supporting the program and is working with the BEST Foundation to ensure there is no interruption or change in services as we transition the program to RAND.  Educators will continue to have access to all training materials on the website.  In addition, RAND is undertaking efforts to continue evaluation of the effectiveness of the program on preventing substance abuse among youth, as well as evaluating how the program can be enhanced to meet the needs of educators and students.  We will invite many of you to participate with us as we work to make Project ALERT even better.  We will keep you updated on the continued future of Project ALERT as our work progresses.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that works to improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.  Approximately 1,700 people from more than 50 countries work at RAND, representing diversity in work experience; academic training; political and ideological outlook; and race, gender, and ethnicity.  Staff working on health-related issues work to provide the scientific basis for improving understanding of factors that drive health and health behaviors, and for enhancing service delivery, system performance, and organizational effectiveness.  

The team supporting Project ALERT at RAND is well-established and capable of continuing to meet the needs of educators and students. Our team is comprised of experts in the fields of education, clinical psychology, and political science, with expertise in areas of substance abuse prevention, adolescent health, program evaluation, research methods, and implementation science.  We are supported by the original developers of the program and through consultation with the BEST Foundation staff and trainers that have worked with you for the past 30 years.  RAND looks forward to continuing the close relationship with you and your students as we work to continue supporting this effective program. 

We are excited that Project ALERT is returning to its roots at RAND.  Although we have made substantial gains in prevention education and helping youth avoid alcohol and other drug use, we must remain committed to implementing effective programs so youth have the motivation and skills necessary to resist pressures to use substances.  Project ALERT has effectively demonstrated it can do just that with its 11 core lessons and three booster lessons.  Your confidence in this program is validated and backed by years of research and implementation.  We look forward to working with you to help empower youths for many years to come.


Michael D. Rich

President and Chief Executive Officer


G. Bridget Ryan

President and Chief Executive Officer

BEST Foundation

Eric R. Pedersen

Director, Project ALERT

Associate Behavioral Scientist


*On March 12, 2014 this letter was sent to ALERT educators. We are providing the letter in electronic format to facilitate saving and sharing.

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