OHSU Substance Abuse Prevention Program Wins National Award

05/16/00    Portland, Ore.

Portland/ Vancouver Area High School Football Teams Participated in Study

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention will announce Tuesday that a program instituted by researchers at Oregon Health Sciences University is a winner of the Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program Award for 1999.

ATLAS, Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids, is a school-based intervention program to prevent anabolic steroid, drug and alcohol use among high-risk adolescent athletes. Football teams at 31 high schools in Beaverton, Canby, Clackamas, Lake Oswego, Oregon City, Portland, Vancouver and Woodburn participated in the program from 1996 through 1998. In the program, coaches and student leaders conducted weekly sessions to address anabolic steroid, alcohol and illicit drug effects on athletic achievement, and taught sports nutrition and strength training alternatives to steroid use.

Results of the study, published last month in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, showed that students who participated in ATLAS were less likely to use alcohol, drugs and steroids and had a greater propensity to engage in healthy eating habits and exercise than did students in control groups. Another by-product was that football teams that participated in ATLAS had better win-loss records than in previous years, and better records than did the control teams.

ATLAS was developed by Linn Goldberg, M.D., and Diane Elliot, M.D., professors in the Division of Health Promotion and Sports Medicine at the OHSU School of Medicine.

ATLAS is among 31 substance abuse prevention programs in 26 states to receive the 1999 Exemplary award. The awards are presented in partnership with the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, the National Prevention Network and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

SAMHSA, a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead federal agency for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment and mental health services in the country.