Substance Abuse Strategies
Alcohol & drug abuse prevention in schools
Vermont Department of Health
Vermont Department of Health - AHS Goal 2
Health Department 186 Performance Measures-retired
Substance Use Programs
ADAP Act 186
ADAP AHS Strategic Plan
School Screenings: Are we referring students who may have a substance use problem to community resources? Measured as percent of students at funded schools who screen positive for possible substance use disorders who are referred for a substance abuse assessment.
Story Behind the Curve
Last Updated: October 2023
Author: Division of Substance Use Programs, Vermont Department of Health
Over the last decade, the Division of Substance Use Programs (DSU) has supported a comprehensive, evidenced-based substance abuse prevention approach. This means prevention efforts are delivered across a wide range of categories including individual, family, school, community, and through effective policy implementation. These efforts have been successful in reducing Vermont youth involvement with alcohol and drugs. For example, according to the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the percentage of students reporting alcohol use prior to age 13 has significantly decreased since 2005 (-42%). Significant reductions were also achieved in the percentage of students who have ever used alcohol (-20%) and those who have used alcohol in the past 30 days (-28%). Schools are indispensable partners in Vermont’s substance abuse prevention strategy.
Early identification of substance use issues has been shown to improve treatment and recovery efficacy and significantly enhance overall prevention outcomes. Screening and referral services for substance abuse and mental health using evidence-based tools (CRAFFT and GAIN short screener) are essential components of our Whole School, Whole Community and Whole Child framework grants. Select staff at funded schools are trained in the use of these tools. Screening should be used to supplement (not replace) the judgment of clinical line staff. Additional information should also be considered, such as collateral reports, background information, etc. While in most cases referral is appropriate, not everyone who screens positive should be referred on for additional services, which is why the target for this performance measure is less than 100%.
Please note: Many schools were partially or fully remote in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decreased opportunities to meet and interact with students.
Why Is This Important?
Together these performance measures focus on whether Vermonters are better off as a result of the Health Department's DSU Programs. They do so by looking at the quality and efficiency of these programs and services. This performance measure is important because it measures HOW WELL the program is doing; it measures quality of program effort.
Agency of Education
Department of Mental Health
Substance Use Prevention Coalitions
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed an evidence-based model for coordinated school health. The Whole School, Whole Community and Whole Child framework grants support a comprehensive substance abuse prevention effort based on that model.Supported activities include:
- Classroom curricula
- Advising and training of youth empowerment groups
- Family outreach and community involvement
- Staff training
- Delivery of educational support groups
- Screening and early identification
Providing screening and appropriate referral in schools for early identification of substance use issues is best practice for both short term treatment and long-term prevention of alcohol and drug use and their associated adverse consequences.
Continue to employ the coordinated school health model; provide training on use of evidence-based tools used for screening; monitor low utilization of referral among grantees; and provide training opportunities for best practice guidelines.