Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Keepin' it REAL



Developer:  Arizona State University, Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center

Program Overview: Keepin' It Real is a school-based program for students 12-14 years of age which aims to reduce alcohol consumption, cigarette use, and marijuana use.

Program Design: Program curriculum is administered by trained teachers in a classroom setting. The curriculum includes 10 lessons which are delivered in 45 minute sessions, over a ten week period. Curriculum includes videos, worksheets, and activities. One of the main strategies of the program is teaching resistance skills; students learn four main strategies called REAL:

  • Refuse offers to use substances
  • Explain why you do not want to use substances
  • Avoid situations in which substances are used
  • Leave situation in which substances are used

More information on the program curriculum can be found here.

Evaluation: A study of 6,298 seventh grade student s in 35 middle schools in Pheonix, Arizona aimed to assess the effectiveness of the Keepin' It Real curriculum. The study used a compare and control group to compare changes in alcohol consumption, tobacco, and marijuana use over time and across control and intervention groups. The study used a pre test and follow ups at 2, 8, and 14 months following program implementation. Data were collected using a 45-minute questionnaire administered in the classroom. Items assessed past-30 day quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, tobacco use, and marijuana use.

Alcohol-related items1:

  • "How many drinks of alcohol have you had in the past 30 days?"
  • "How many days in the past 30 days have you had alcohol to drink (Do NOT count for religious services)?"

Key findings1Program evaluation found that students participating in the curriculum reported statistically significant:

  • Reductions in rates of alcohol consumption following the intervention
  • Reduced rates of growth in alcohol consumption and marijuana use over time

Program Website: sirc.asu.edu


1. Hecht, M., Graham, J. W., & Elek, E. (2006). The drug resistance strategies intervention: Program effects on substance use. Health Communication, Vol. 20(3), 267-276.

Target Audience: Middle school (10-14 years)
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Schools
Approach: Life Skills
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