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Science and Service

Substance Abuse Prevention Programs

2008 Winners

Broome County Mental Health Department
KYDS Coalition

The Keeping Youth Drug-free and Safe (KYDS) Coalition is a partnership of community organizations established in 2000 with the mission to develop and provide evidence-based substance abuse prevention programs in Broome County, New York.  The Coalition’s success has led to expansion and offering services to eight school districts and two alternative schools.

KYDS utilizes the Communities That Care (CTC) model to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the needs and resources of the community every two years.  This data guides the selection of evidence-based prevention programs specifically tailored to the community’s needs.  A three-phase strategy was devised based on the initial assessment: youth prevention programs, parent involvement and education, and community awareness and involvement.  Programs and prevention efforts include Life Skills Training (LST), Reconnecting Youth (RY), Families and Schools Together (FAST), community education, dissemination of information through events, community-wide family fun days, and various events designed to increase community awareness of substance abuse.  In addition, the Coalition has produced seven commercials that have aired on two local TV stations and are available on the website.

The initial fidelity measures of the LST program revealed both a high degree of fidelity and a high degree of inter-rater reliability.  Subsequent random sample fidelity checks have indicated that the program continues to be implemented with a high degree of fidelity.  The program evaluation results show that students enrolled in the LST program have shown improvement on 8 out of 13 domains.  Furthermore, data shows a reduction in 22 out of 23 risk factors and an increase in 9 out of 10 protective factors.

Family Service Association of San Antonio, Inc.
Families and Schools Together-FAST (Pre-School, Elementary and Middle School)

Family Service has been working proactively since 1993 with the local school districts to fight the causes of substance use and school failure among youth in San Antonio, Texas.  Family Service currently utilizes the FAST program in collaboration with 4 inner-city school districts and two rural school districts, providing FAST programming to more than 30 elementary schools, 3 Head Start centers and 8 middle schools, including services to more than 2,000 families every year.  Family Service implemented the FAST program in San Antonio schools due to two primary reasons: 1) within the San Antonio community very few evidenced based programs were being utilized within the schools; and 2) FAST programming was based upon a parental involvement, family-centered, family-strengthening approach that was being sought in the school environment and was in alignment with the agency’s mission and values.  Research has also demonstrated that the FAST model had a specific impact in improving the academic competence and social skills among Latino children.. 

Family Service ensures fidelity compliance by participating in FAST National Research efforts for each Family Service FAST service site.  Family Service’s Youth Services Manager is a Certified FAST National Trainer ensuring that the agency’s delivery of FAST services comply FAST National’s rigorous quality and evaluation standards.  Since the initial implementation of FAST in 1993, Family Service has had participants who consistently scored the highest in conduct disorders and anxiety/withdrawal among all FAST programs participating nationally.  Conversely, at the conclusion of FAST services, Family Service participants have demonstrated, nationally the greatest degree of project impact with an 80% retention rate.  Specifically, Family Service has consistently seen improvements among participants above National FAST program averages.  An average of the specific results for the past 3 years, demonstrates actual changes in behaviors in the following categories, representing data collection outcomes measuring actual behavior changes for 11,831 youth and families: a 17% increase in Family Relationship Index Scales; 30% increase in Family Social Support Scales; a 25% increase in Child Pro-Social Behaviors-Parental Scale; a 40% decrease in Problematic Behaviors-Parental Scale; and a 43% increase in Parental Involvement Scale-Parent & Teacher.  Moreover, 83% of respondents noted  improved family relationships through FAST Services; and a 22% decrease in substance use was reported among Middle School Students.  Additionally, Family Service’s implementation of the FAST program has also demonstrated real societal savings.  In one local elementary, based on a cost benefit analysis, the FAST program resulted in a savings of $68,480.

Five Town Communities That Care
S.T.A.R. (Skills Training And Recognition) - Middle School

Five Town Communities That Care has been using a data-driven approach to promote healthy youth development and to address issues facing youth in the five-town community of Appleton, Camden, Hope, Lincolnville, and Rockport, Maine since 2003. The coalition focuses on prevention, and uses a public health approach that focuses on reduction of prioritized risk factors and enhancement of protective factors for problem adolescent behaviors. Five Town Communities That Care provides direct service programs, community education, and activities to increase collaboration. The coalition advocates for the use of proven, research-based practices in order to make the most effective use of the community's resources

S.T.A.R. (Skills Training And Recognition) is based on a program called PALS (Participate and Learn Skills) developed and tested by Drs. Marshall B. Jones and David R. Offord (1989).  S.T.A.R. is an afterschool skills-training program that provides youth with structured opportunities to learn new skills, community recognition for skill mastery, connections to prosocial venues where they can use their new skills, and adult role models who promote healthy beliefs and clear standards.  The program has been delivered in six-week cycles three times each year to youth in grades 5-8 since the fall of 2004.  The program has been implemented with high fidelity (all core elements delivered without modification) and high participant satisfaction. To date the program has served more than 45% of the community's youth who were in grades 5-8 with at least one cycle of programming.  More than 28% of participants have completed at least three cycles of the program during their middle school years.

A comparison of grade 8 results from the Maine Youth Drug and Alcohol Use Survey (MYDAUS) from the spring of 2004 and spring of 2008 have shown a 28% decline in lifetime alcohol use, a 56% decline in lifetime use of marijuana, and a 35% reduction in lifetime use of cigarettes in our community.  During this same time period grade 8 reported rates of the S.T.A.R.'s targeted protective factor of Community Recognition for Prosocial Involvement have increased 26%, and rates of the targeted risk factors Early Problem Behavior, Friends Antisocial Behaviors, and Friend's Use of Drugs have decreased by 28%, 31% and 29% respectively.

Positive Directions - The Center for Prevention & Recovery
The Wilton Blitz - Creating Lasting Family Connections

Positive Directions is a community supported agency providing substance abuse and behavioral health treatment and counseling to adults, adolescents and families throughout lower Fairfield County, Connecticut.  In treating adolescents, Positive Directions addresses both the individual’s needs and the environmental factors that will sustain the recovery process.  Accordingly, the agency developed and implemented community-based prevention programs for students aged 11-17 and their parents and collaborated extensively with community stakeholders to deliver these programs effectively and efficiently.

The Wilton Blitz was initiated in 2004 in response to the alarming rate of underage drinking in the Wilton community where the incidence and intensity of alcohol use among 12-16 year olds exceeded state and national averages.  In collaboration with community leaders and advocates, a decision was made to implement a family management and prevention focused-program which would complement ongoing prevention programs provided to middle school studentsCreating Last Family Connections (CLFC) was chosen as the intervention as the program impacts were consistent with the community goals: to enable parents to understand the linkages between their own behavior and that of their children and, longer term, to address the issue of social tolerance of underage drinking (which was emerging as a prevention barrier) by building a network of connected parents, effectively instituting a local and impactful cultural change in attitudes.

CLFC training has been provided annually to the parents of fifth graders, the selected community focal point, with a view to developing a critical mass of informed and engaged middle-school parents.  Program facilitators were trained by the developer and engage in a critical review process to ensure fidelity.  Reported changes in attitudes and behavior by program participants are consistent with the CLFC impacts and the community-focused logic model.  Benchmarking surveys of Wilton middle-school and high school students have shown a significant decrease in the percentage of students with lifetime alcohol use.

Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects
Project ALERT-- Middle School and Junior High School

The Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects, established by Saint Vincent College in 1978 and funded in part by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs and the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc., provides a variety of community and school-based prevention programs throughout the 1,000 square miles of Westmoreland County and in the surrounding area of southwestern Pennsylvania.  Since its inception, the Prevention Projects has been a leader in drug and alcohol prevention efforts in Pennsylvania, introducing a variety of evidence-based programming in local schools over the past several years.  This agency is also one of the pioneer trainers for Student Assistance Programs (SAP) in Pennsylvania.  In April, 2003, the Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects was awarded the first ever Mental Health Association Innovations Award for Prevention.   In 2007, the Latrobe Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the Prevention Projects the LACC Award for the program’s outstanding commitment to the Greater Latrobe community for 29 years.
The Prevention Projects has been providing the Project ALERT curriculum since 2002. Project ALERT is a focused, classroom-based adolescent substance abuse prevention program. The program was designed to motivate students against drug use, to provide skills and strategies for resisting use, and to establish non-use attitudes and beliefs. The program addresses tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and inhalants, the substances teens are most likely to use. The program has been consistently delivered with fidelity according to the fidelity and implementation standards established by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs.

During the 2006-2007 academic year, respondents showed significant knowledge and attitudinal gains on pre and posttests, demonstrating a 32% gain overall.  Gains were registered in all four areas in perception of “great risk” on the core measure instrument as follows: tobacco (from 73% to 74%); marijuana  (from 36% to 46% for experimental use, and from 89% to 92% for regular use); and alcohol (from 40% to 46% for daily use).  These outcomes indicate that evidence-based programs, such as Project ALERT, coupled with the active presence of Student Assistance in each school, supported by a strong county-wide collaborative alliance, have a positive impact in the lives of students. Through the last thirty years the Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc. has been a key collaborator with the Saint Vincent College Prevention Projects by helping fund and support the implementation of the Project ALERT curriculum.

Valley Youth House/Northern Lehigh School District 
Too Good for Drugs II and
Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth Ages 10-14
610-954-9561 ext 39

Begun in 1989, the Youth Education Program for the Prevention of Destructive Decisions provides school and community based prevention and education services to Lehigh Valley youth in Pennsylvania, a region made up of Lehigh and Northampton Counties.  Services are provided at the elementary, middle and high schools during the school year, as well as community sites throughout the year.  The program operates with the belief that substance abuse, violence and other self-destructive behaviors can be prevented through alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) education coupled with life skills training. 

The Too Good for Drugs II program has been implemented within the Northern Lehigh School District since the fall of 2002.  Funding for the program has come from the Lehigh County Office of Drug and Alcohol since inception.  All ATOD prevention services in Pennsylvania are monitored by the State Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP), in the Department of Health.  Using the on-line Performance Based Prevention System (PBPS), service providers are required to enter service delivery data, which conform to program fidelity standards established by each prevention/intervention program.  The Too Good for Drugs program has been delivered at Northern Lehigh for the past 6 years with over 90% fidelity. Since 2002, the overall pre-post measure improvement is 12% district-wide, measuring knowledge, skills and attitude related to substance abuse.

The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth Ages 10-14 (SFP) at Northern Lehigh began with funding from a PROSPER (Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience) Grant in 2002 in partnership with the Penn State Lehigh County Cooperative Extension.  Northern Lehigh Middle School was the control group for the study.   In January 2006, Valley Youth House and the Penn State Lehigh County Cooperative Extension entered into a partnership to continue SFP at Northern Lehigh Middle School.  Valley Youth House implemented the first group in March 2006.  Funding is provided by the Lehigh County Office of Drug and Alcohol.  The SFP is facilitated by three faculty and other district staff at Northern Lehigh.  The program is monitored for fidelity by the Penn State Cooperative Extension Family Living Educator who observed all facilitators twice during the seven week program and reported over 95% fidelity.   The SFP Parent/Caregiver and Youth Survey beginning in 2006, show significant increases in the following areas that are applicable to substance abuse prevention: improved stress management, problem solving, anger management skills, improved family communication and cohesiveness, and improved behavior management skills among family members.  

The Youth Education Program and Northern Lehigh School District also work collaboratively on other service offerings such as the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) Chapters Advisory Board, a yearly Peer Helper Training, and small psycho-educational groups at Northern Lehigh High School.  All of these programs provide students with the skills needed to grow up to be productive individuals who make positive choices.

Wood County Educational Service Center  
Life Skills Training (LST) Middle and High School

The Wood County Educational Service Center (WCESC) School- and Community-Based Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) Prevention Program provides evidence-based prevention programming to 10 school districts and 18,000 students in Northwest Ohio.  The mission is to build and sustain a multi-systemic approach to prevention that ensures all Wood County youth will be given the opportunity to develop to their full potential through a culture of substance-free living.  

The WCESC School- and Community-Based ATOD Prevention Program began offering the Life Skills Training curriculum in 2003.  Since then, over 10,000 students in Wood County have received Life Skills Training.  A record number of 2,500 students received the program during the 2007-2008 school year alone.  In 2008, the ATOD Prevention Program was awarded a highly competitive, discretionary grant from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.  A portion of grant funds will allow 1,200 7th and 8th grade students from four parochial schools to receive the Life Skills Training Middle School Program for the first time.  In addition, the newly-developed Life Skills High School Program will help over 1200 9th and 10th grade students navigate the challenges associated with high school and gain skills for the transition into early adulthood.
Results of survey data collected during the 2007-2008 school year suggest that Life Skills Training is a valuable program in Wood County. Evaluations of supplemental pre-test and post-test measures indicate that, after participating in Life Skills, students endorse more realistic views of ATOD, increase knowledge about the decision-making process related to substance use, and increase the likelihood of declining substances offered to them.  Data collected biannually from all Wood County schools from 2004 to 2008 compared ATOD prevalence rates among youth who received Life Skills Training to the prevalence rates among youth who did not. Results suggest that youth in grades 7 through 12 who did not receive the program report higher rates of ATOD use than students who completed the program.


Last Update: 9/21/2009