The Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention Study (ASAPS) sought to examine the effectiveness of a school-based substance abuse prevention program called Take Charge of Your Life (TCYL). The study was a randomized trial that took place in high schools and their associated feeder middle schools, and school clusters in Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, and St. Louis were included in the study. Based on the existing Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) curricula for middle and high school students, the TYCL program incorporated concepts and strategies from published literature on drug abuse prevention and middle and high school curricula design. The program was implemented by D.A.R.E. law enforcement officers. The study began in the 2001-2002 school year with seventh grade students who were followed until the eleventh grade (2005-2006). For treatment schools, the initial TYCL curriculum was presented in the seventh grade, while the second TYCL curriculum was presented in the ninth grade. Both treatment and control groups completed a total of seven self-administered surveys: two in seventh grade (pre- and post-intervention), one in eighth grade, two in ninth grade (pre- and post-intervention), one in tenth grade, and one in eleventh grade. The surveys included topics such as normative beliefs; social skills; attitudes toward drug use; and the respondent's use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit drugs.
In order to ensure the diversity of the sample, school clusters in a variety of geographical locations were selected. Each cluster consisted of one high school along with its feeder middle schools from the same public school district. Forty-two clusters were assigned to the treatment condition and forty-one to the control condition. Of approximately 34,000 seventh grade students, 19,529 provided consent and 17,325 completed the initial baseline survey.