Date of Conferral







Carl Valdez


Research correlates adolescent drug use and dropout rates, and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows 31.4% of those who dropped out of high school had used an illicit substance recently. The purpose of this study was to examine adolescents' perceptions of the influence of family, peers, and community, on recovery and academic achievement as a result of participation in a school-referred drug education program. To inspect the study purpose, Henggeler's multisystemic therapy was used to guide the study. Data collection used a researcher-designed, open-ended survey to collect responses from 14 individuals involved in a school-referred substance education program. Findings from a hand-coded, predetermined, color-based, schematic data analysis made it possible to use a thematic approach by 'chunking' the data accordingly for comparison and analysis. The results indicated that more education is needed on the topic of drug use and the community programs available to help with the recovery process, there was a lack of perceived peer pressure to use substances, and the importance of family communication and positive community connections to prevent recidivism. Findings may be used to improve treatment programs by promoting relationships, shortening lessons, and including popular teaching techniques in an attempt to engage those who are involved in the programs. Higher engagement and taking the needs and limitations of the clientele into consideration when designing treatment or education programs will help those in the program retain knowledge of resources and supports available to them thus helping to educate others while decreasing recidivism rates while promoting positive social change.