For Schools

Schools are the home away from home for our children.  They not only provide the daily academic and educational growth, but also serve as physical, social, and psychological supports for healthy development.  New Hampshire’s public school systems must provide alcohol, tobacco, and other drug education and prevention.

What is the role of schools in alcohol, tobacco, and other drug education and prevention? 

  • School administration, teachers and staff can create safe environments and positive cultures for students.
  • Schools can create a sense of community and belonging for all students. 
  • Schools can help to mitigate risk factors that can make students vulnerable to engaging in dangerous behavior. (School domain: School failure, low commitment to school, not college bound, aggression toward peers, associating with drug-using peers, rules/ policies/norms favorable to alcohol and other drug use; Source: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  • Schools can boost protective factors and increase student engagement. (healthy peer groups, school engagement, positive teacher expectations, effective classroom management, positive partnering between school and family, school policies and practices and policies to reduce bullying, high academic standards, presence of mentors and support for development of skills and interests, opportunities for engagement within  school and community, positive norms, clear expectations for behavior, physical and psychological safety, connectedness to adults outside family.  Source: National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: Progress and possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
  • Schools can educate students, families and school professionals about the dangers of drug use and how to prevent underage drinking, vaping, and opioid misuse and addiction through a variety of environmental strategies, specific information pieces, programming and prevention education activities.
  • Schools and school districts can have policies and procedures that support students who are currently using and who are in recovery as well as support students whose family members are experiencing substance use addiction or are in recovery. 
  • Schools can be prepared to respond if an opioid overdose occurs on school grounds by ensuring school staff learn how to prevent and manage an opioid overdose, ensuring access to treatment for anyone misusing opioids or other substances, and ensuring ready access to naloxone (and proper training). This includes education programs for students and families around the safe storage and disposal of prescribed medications. Work with the local Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator in the Public Health Network to connect with training opportunities and storage and disposal resources.  In addition, SAMHSA has a toolkit available

Schools are not alone!

There are resources available for schools in NH to support these efforts:

New Hampshire Teen Institute
New Hampshire Teen Institute provides programming for both youth and the adults who work with and care for them.  Positive youth development programs for middle and high schools, as well as after school organizations.  Programs build communication skills, develop respect and understanding of self and others, increase knowledge around ATOD issues. In addition, the Teen Institute will work with your school to organize workshops for parents and caregivers. 
NH Life of an Athlete
NH Life of an Athlete is a comprehensive prevention program, which uses the intrinsic value of athletics to empower and motivate students to drive a cultural shift related to Alcohol and other Drugs (ATOD) in their school and communities.
Media Power Youth
Media Power Youth programs empower students to safely navigate a complex media world. Teachers see the role media plays in students’ lives every day, both academically and socially. Media Power Youth offers evidence-based curricula you can easily integrate into core instruction to teach young people media literacy knowledge and critical-thinking skills to use media responsibly and recognize the power it has to influence specific behaviors including bullying, violence, substance misuse, and nutrition. Empowered students make better decisions, and better decision-making helps students excel.
Youth Leadership Through Adventure
Youth Leadership Through Adventure To empower local youth, by working with organizations and policymakers to cultivate safe and drug-free communities in the Counties of Grafton and Coos, New Hampshire. Our goal is to organize, coordinate, and administer alcohol, tobacco, and other substance abuse, prevention, intervention, and aftercare programs that address the needs of youth ages 5 to 21. We collaborate with area schools, local businesses, police, community members, and other agencies to achieve this goal.
NH Department of Education Bureau of Student Wellness
NH Department of Education Bureau of Student Wellness offers a number of trainings and professional development workshops that promote positive school culture and increase safety and responsiveness.
Everyone is an Asset Builder
Everyone is an Asset Builder introduces participants to the Search Institute and the Developmental Asset framework, which identifies a set of skills, experiences, relationships, and behaviors that enable young people to develop into successful and contributing adults and reduces high-risk behaviors.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Conversations on Culture and Diversity is a facilitated conversation on culture and diversity in the Granite State. Participants will begin to explore the concepts of culture and diversity as they relate to their own personal beliefs and values and how those concepts influence their practices in education, health, and/or behavioral health.
NH Student Assistance Program
NH Student Assistance Program is in over 50 schools across New Hampshire to help youth thrive and make healthy choices.  SAP counselors support youth with various social issues, such as bullying, dating violence, and peer pressure, as well as provide early screening, assessment and referral for substance use.  They provide ATOD prevention throughout the school, as well as with parents and community groups to prevent and reduce adolescent alcohol and other substance misuses. 
The Upper Room
The Upper Room has a number of programs that support youth and families.  Programs include Rejuven8, Active Parenting and Magic 1,2,3 along with Positive Solutions. 
Dover Youth 2 Youth
Dover Youth 2 Youth is a youth empowerment program taking on the threat of alcohol & drug abuse. Y2Y is coordinated by the Dover Police Department with support from Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
CATCH My Breath
CATCH My Breath collaborated with researchers at Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health to create CATCH My Breath™, a youth e-cigarette, JUUL, and vape prevention program specific to grades 5-12. The evidence-based program was shown to substantially reduce students’ likelihood of vaping in the year following program implementation. Students also showed a significant increase in knowledge of the dangers of vaping and an increase in positive perceptions about choosing a vape-free lifestyle.

Schools are not alone.

Students go home to their families and their communities. Prevention works best when a multi-system approach is applied, with schools, families, and communities working together.

Make sure your school is working with the NH DOE Office of Student Wellness to implement a Multi-tiered System of Support for Behavior framework, your community’s Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator, your local Prevention Coalition, and your Regional Public Health Network.

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