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That finding may explain why the most popular prevention program has been found to be ineffective—and may even heighten the use of some substances among teens.

Project MKUltra

Rehearsing Refusal The most widely publicized teen substance abuse prevention program is Drug Abuse Resistance Education, better known by the acronym D. In most cases, the officers do so once a week, typically for 45 to 60 minutes, for several months. T-shirts, and police cars emblazoned with the word D. Despite this fanfare, data indicate that the program does little or nothing to combat substance use in youth. A meta-analysis mathematical review in of 20 controlled studies by statisticians Wei Pan, then at the University of Cincinnati, and Haiyan Bai of the University of Central Florida revealed that teens enrolled in the program were just as likely to use drugs as were those who received no intervention.

A few clues to D.

In a review of 30 studies published in , she attempted to pinpoint the common elements of successful programs. Cuijpers reported that the most effective ones involve substantial amounts of interaction between instructors and students. They teach students the social skills they need to refuse drugs and give them opportunities to practice these skills with other students—for example, by asking students to play roles on both sides of a conversation about drugs, while instructors coach them about what to say and do.

In addition, programs that work take into account the importance of behavioral norms: they emphasize to students that substance use is not especially common and thereby attempt to counteract the misconception that abstaining from drugs makes a person an oddball. In a review of various substance abuse prevention programs, epidemiologist Melissa Stigler of the University of Texas School of Public Health and her colleagues buttressed these conclusions.

They further observed that programs that unfold during many sessions—ideally, over several years—garner especially strong results, probably because they provide students with lessons that are reinforced over time, as children mature and encounter different environments. It typically lasts only months rather than years.

Moreover, it affords students few opportunities to practice how to refuse offers of drugs. Indeed, Cuijpers noted that purely educational programs that involve minimal or no direct social interaction with other students are usually ineffective.

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Programs led exclusively by adults, with little or no involvement of students as peer leaders—another common feature of D. Small negative effects for D. The reasons for these potential boomerang effects are unclear. Yet by emphasizing the hazards of severe drug abuse, D.

These scientific findings stand in stark contrast to the belief, held by scores of schoolteachers and parents, that D. One reason for this discrepancy, clinical psychologist Donald R. Lynam, now at Purdue University, and his colleagues wrote in a article, is that teachers and parents may overestimate the prevalence of substance use among children.

As a consequence, they may assume a decline in use when students of D. But that conclusion is erroneous if children who did not receive drug prevention education display levels of drug use that are just as low, if not lower. Because of this, many members of the U. They were afraid the code would be easily cracked, but that was before they learned about the complexity of Navajo.

In , Philip Johnston was reading a newspaper article about an armored division in Louisiana that was attempting to come up with another code using Native American languages. Johnston knew the perfect Native American language to utilize in a new, unbreakable code. As a child, Johnston spent most of his childhood on a Navajo reservation while his parents served there as missionaries. He grew up learning the Navajo language and customs. Johnston became so fluent in the Navajo language that he was asked at age 9 to serve as an interpreter for a Navajo delegation sent to Washington, D.

In spite of concerns about the security of a code based on a Native American language, the U. They approved a pilot project with 30 Navajos and allowed Johnston to enlist and participate in the program. One of the first tasks for these recruits was to develop a Navajo code. However, the Marine Corps took the code to the next level and made it virtually unbreakable by further encoding the language with word substitution.

The Navajo recruits began developing the code by taking words from their language and applying to them to implements of war. For example, the names of different birds were used to stand for different kinds of planes. The initial code consisted of vocabulary terms, which expanded to over the course of the war.

In addition, an alphabet system see below was also developed by the Code Talkers. It would be used to spell out some of the words not found in Navajo vocabulary. The first letter of a Navajo word corresponded with one of the 26 letters in the English alphabet. Several different words were chosen to represent the more commonly used letters in order to make the code even more secure.

A skeptical lieutenant decided to test their skills and the code before trusting them to deliver actual combat messages. The Code Talkers successfully translated, transmitted and re-translated a test message in two and a half minutes. Without using the Navajo code, it could take hours for a soldier to complete the same task.

From then on, the Code Talkers were used in every major operation involving the Marines in the Pacific theater. Their primary job was to transmit tactical information over telephone and radio. They sent more than messages. All of the messages were transmitted without error.


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The Navajo Code Talkers were treated with the utmost respect by their fellow marines. The hard work of the Navajo Code Talkers was not recognized until after the declassification of the operation in President George W.

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Bush presented the medals to the four surviving Code Talkers at a ceremony held in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington in July Use the Navajo Code Talker Dictionary below and then click the link to see if you are correct. Decipher the following code to find out who suggested using the Navajo language for secure communications:. Decipher the code below to find out during what battle the Navajo Code Talkers to help gain a U. Click here to see if your solution was correct.

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