Alternatives to DARE: Drug Abuse Resistance Education

Alternatives to DARE.

Alternatives to DARE are important. The DARE program is very popular. But researchers have, without exception, found it to be ineffective. Even worse, some have found it to be sometimes counter productive. That is, worse than doing nothing. For example, see Drug Abuse Resistance Education: the Effectiveness of DARE.

alternatives to D.A.R.E.That’s the conclusion of the US Department of Education (DOE), the US Surgeon General, the US General Accountability Office (GAO), and the American Academy of Sciences,  among others. The Department of Education strictly prohibited the use of any of its funding  to support DARE in any school. DARE is, at best, ineffective. That’s reason enough to look at alternatives to DARE.

Recent reports that D.A.R.E. is now effective are false.

Schools are not faced with the choice between DARE and no program. A federal agency  (SAMSHA) has identified 66 model programs. Any would be preferable to the ineffective DARE program.

The alternative model programs follow. Abbreviations:

CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

DHHS = Department of Health and Human Services

DOE = Department of Education

NIDA = National Institute on Drug Abuse

OJJDP = Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

SDFSC =  Safe and Drug Free Schools and Community Program

SAMHSA = Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Alternatives to DARE


Across Ages







Across Ages is a school- and community-based drug prevention program for youth 9 to 13 years. It seeks to strengthen the bonds between adults and youth and provide opportunities for positive community involvement.

The effective feature of Across Ages is pairing older adult mentors (age 55 and above) with young adolescents. Specifically, youth making the transition to middle school. The program employs mentoring, community service, social competence training, and family activities. This is to build youths’ sense of personal responsibility for self and community.

Specifically, the program aims to:

  • Increase knowledge of health and substance abuse and foster healthy behavior toward drug use.
  • Improve school bonding, academic performance, school attendance, and behavior and attitudes toward school.
  • Strengthen relationships with adults and peers.
  • Enhance problem-solving and decisionmaking skills.

The goal of the program is to increase the protective factors for high-risk students. That’s to prevent, reduce, or delay the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Best Practice Model in Youth Violence Prevention: CDC

Top 25, Positive Youth Development Program: DHHS

Commendable Practice: Child Welfare League of America

Model Program: Case Study for North America: United Nations Office of Drug Control Programs

Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices










Al’s Pals: Kids Making Healthy Choices is a resiliency-based early childhood curriculum and teacher training program. It develops personal, social, and emotional skills in children 3 to 8 years old.

Using 46 interactive lessons, Al’s Pals teaches children how to:

  • Express feelings appropriately
  • Use kind words
  • Care about others
  • Use self-control
  • Think independently
  • Accept differences
  • Make friends
  • Solve problems peacefully
  • Cope
  • Make safe and healthy choices
  • Understand that tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs are not for children

The lessons use guided creative play, brainstorming, puppetry, original music, and movement to develop children’s social-emotional competence and life skills.

A nine-lesson booster curriculum is used in second or third grade with children who have previously received the full program. One of the alternatives to D.A.R.E. program.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Promising Program:  SDFSC

Effective Program: Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

All Stars™







All Stars™ is a school- or community-based program. It’s designed to delay and prevent high-risk behaviors with middle school-age adolescents. That includes substance use, violence, and premature sexual activity. To do so, it fosters the development of positive personal characteristics. It’s a  highly interactive program,

All Stars involves 13 lessons during its first year, and 9 booster lessons in its second year*. For more information see

All Stars is based on research identifying the critical factors that lead young people to begin experimenting with substances. The program is designed to reinforce positive qualities that are typical of youth at this age.

It works to strengthen five specific qualities that are vital to achieving preventive effects:

    • Developing positive ideals and future aspirations.
    • Establishing positive norms.
    • Building strong personal commitments.
    • Promoting bonding with school and community organizations.
    • Promoting positive parental attentiveness.

All Stars is available in formats for delivery in schools as part of regular classroom instruction. But also in formats for after-school and community-based organizations and programs.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Promising Program: DOE

* This program has updated and revised the curriculum.

ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids)





ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) is a multicomponent school-based program. It’s for male high school athletes (13 to 19 years old).

It uses team-centered dynamics, positive peer pressure, and role modeling to reduce the use of:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Performance-enhancing supplements

ATLAS is delivered to school sports team, with instruction led by student athlete peers and facilitated by coaches. ATLAS promotes healthy nutrition and exercise behaviors as alternatives to substance use.

The 10-session curriculum is highly scripted and contains interactive and entertaining activities. These  make it easy and desirable to deliver, enhancing the fidelity of the intervention.

ATLAS is the product of 10 years of research and field testing,  It focuses on adolescent male athletes’ risk and protective factors. This may be one of the effective alternatives to D.A.R.E.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: DOE

Effective Program: NIDA

BASICS: Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students


BASICS is Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention of College Students: A Harm Reduction Approach. It’s a preventive intervention for college students 18 to 24 years old.

It is aimed at students who drink alcohol heavily and have experienced or are at risk for alcohol-related problems. These include such things as such as poor class attendance, missed assignments, accidents, sexual assault, and violence.

Students often conform to patterns of heavy drinking they see as acceptable. They may do this while holding false beliefs about alcohol’s effects or actual alcohol-use norms. BASICS is designed to help students make better alcohol-use decisions. The program’s style is empathetic, not confrontational or judgmental.  and:

The program

  • Reduces alcohol consumption and its adverse consequences.
  • Promotes healthier choices among young adults.
  • Provides important information and coping skills for risk reduction.

BASICS is conducted over the course of only two interviews, and these brief, limited interventions. These prompt students to change their drinking patterns.

Research also shows that, over time, the majority of students who drink heavily will reduce consumption . However, BASICS speeds the process.

BASICS is designed to affect the individual. However, post-intervention students often comment that they respond differently to friends as a result of participation. Thus, if implemented densely (e.g., dormitory or other residential settings), BASICS may have a broader effect. It’s one of the better-known and respected alternatives to D.A.R.E. program.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Border Binge-Drinking Reduction Program

The Border Binge-Drinking Reduction Program provides multilevel, community-based interventions . These are effective in reducing alcohol-related trauma caused by cross-border binge drinking by young Americans.

The United States, Mexico, and Canada have significant disparities in the legal drinking age, the price of alcohol, and the enforcement of alcohol sales. Therefore, it is either legal or easier for those under age 21 to obtain alcohol.

Thousands of American teens and young adults (age 24 and below) go into these nearby countries to binge drink. Consequently, an alarming number of young Americans return to the United States drunk. This presents a significant risk to themselves and the public.

The Border Binge-Drinking Program is a binational effort. It uses environmental management and media advocacy to curb these irresponsible drinking practices.

The program includes

  • Regular surveys of youths returning from a night of drinking. These include anonymous blood alcohol concentration (BAC) breath tests.
  • Strong media advocacy programs which use information from the surveys to mobilize the community to action.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT)


Brief Strategic Family Therapy (BSFT) is an effective, problem-focused, and practical approach to the elimination of substance abuse risk factors.

It successfully reduces problem behaviors in children and adolescents, 6 to 17 years, and strengthens their families. BSFT provides families with tools to decrease individual and family risk factors.

It targets:

  • Conduct problems.
  • Associations with anti-social peers.
  • Early substance use.
  • Problematic family relations.

The program fosters parental leadership, appropriate parental involvement, mutual support among parenting figures, family communication, problem solving, clear rules and consequences, nurturing, and shared responsibility for family problems.

In addition, the program provides specialized outreach strategies to bring families into therapy. One of the promising alternatives to D.A.R.E.

RecognitionModel Program: SAMHSA

Presidential Award: Society for Prevention Research

Research Award: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention



CASASTART (Striving Together to Achieve Rewarding Tomorrows) is a community-based, school-centered program designed to keep high-risk preadolescents (8 to 13 years old) free of drug and crime involvement.

The central notion underlying the program is that while rates of experimentation with drugs and alcohol are similar for preadolescents from all backgrounds, those who lack effective human and social support are at higher risk of continuing and intensifying substance abuse.

Using an intensive and coordinated marriage of preventive services and community-based law enforcement, CASASTART addresses the individual needs of participants as well as the broader problems of their families and communities.

It operates on three levels to:

  • Build resiliency in the child
  • Strengthen families
  • Make neighborhoods safer for children and their families

The program brings together key stakeholders in a community or neighborhood (schools, law enforcement, social services, and health agencies) under one umbrella and provides case managers to work daily with high-risk children.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: SDFSC

Model Program: OJJDP

Promising Program: U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence

Challenging College Alcohol Abuse


Challenging College Alcohol Abuse (CCAA) is a social norms and environmental management program. It reduces high-risk drinking and related negative consequences in college students (18 to 24 years old).

Under CCAA, the campus health service  communicates public health information to students, the campus, and the surrounding community.

The purpose of these efforts is  to:

  • Correct misperceptions, increase knowledge, and change attitudes about alcohol and drug use behaviors among undergraduate students.
  • Change policies and practices related to alcohol and drug use and abuse among campus fraternity and sorority chapters.
  • Change faculty, administration, parental, community, and policymaker perceptions to prevent perpetuation of alcohol and drug myths.
  • Increase restrictions on alcohol availability and monitor on- and off-campus distribution and consumption.

CCAA fosters development of policies that establish and maintain a healthy and safe environment for all students. It also seeks to develop community and civic partnerships and collaborations in support of campus alcohol and drug policies, and State and local laws.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Model Program Award: U.S. Department of Education

Child Development Project (CDP)


The Child Development Project (CDP) is a multifaceted, schoolwide improvement program. It helps elementary schools become “caring communities of learners” for their students (5 to 12 years old).

CDP is one of the ambitious alternatives to D.A.R.E. It significantly reduces children’s early use of alcohol and marijuana. CDP is designed to strengthen connections among peers and between students of different ages, teachers and students, and home and school.

The goal is to promote:

  • School bonding: students commitment to, and engagement in, their school.
  • Students interpersonal skills and commitment to positive values.
  • Classroom and school-wide climate of safety, respect, caring, and helpfulness.

The program, which involves students in all grade levels, their families, teachers, and school administrators, prepares children to play responsible roles in their classrooms and schools so that later they can contribute to the wider society.

The program has recently been streamlined and strengthened to make it more feasible and affordable to implement, and more effective at boosting literacy skills.


Model Program: SAMHS

Promising Safe and Drug Free Schools Program: DOE

Educational Programs That Work: DOE

Children in the Middle


Children in the Middle is a skills-based program that helps children and parents deal with the children’s reactions to divorce.

Divorcing parents may use their children to manipulate and/or control each other around a variety of personal, social, and financial issues.

These tactics increase the stress and anxiety typically experienced by children of divorce and can increase children’s risk for behavior problems, depression, delinquency, substance use, teen pregnancy, school failure and dropout, and suicide.

Built around a 37-minute video for parents and a 30-minute video for children, Children in the Middle needs no special training or licensing to implement.

It seeks to alleviate children’s problems such as—

  • Loss of concentration and attention
  • Declining grades and behavior problems at school
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Emotional outbursts and health problems
  • Serious anger with one or both parents
  • Delinquency and substance use

The parent video teaches parents the skills needed to avoid putting children in the middle of their conflicts. The child video helps children understand why parents divorce.

It dispels common myths that children have about divorce (e.g., “It’s my fault” or “I can get my parents back together”) and teaches children stress and anger management and problem-solving skills. The parent video is available open-captioned or in Spanish.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Positive Parenting Award: Children’s Rights Council

Class Action


Class Action is part of the Project Northland school-based alcohol-use prevention curriculum series. It significantly reduces increased alcohol use and binge drinking by high school students.

A program for youth in grades 9 through 12, Class Action—

  • Delays the onset of alcohol use
  • Reduces use among youth who have already tried alcohol
  • Limits the number of alcohol-related problems experienced by young drinkers

Based on the social influences theory of behavior change, the Class Action curriculum uses interactive, peer-led sessions to discuss and debate the consequences of substance abuse. Thus it changes the social norms around alcohol use and changes negative peer pressure into positive peer pressure.

The Class Action intervention develops resistance, decision-making, social competence, and leadership skills. One of the promisind alternatives to D.A.R.E.

It can be used as part of the Project Northland series or as a stand-alone program. Results highlighted here, and reviewed by NREPP, come from communities that were part of a Project Northland study.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Child Sexual Abuse (CBT-CSA)


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Child Sexual Abuse (CBT-CSA) is a treatment approach. It’s designed to help children and adolescents who have suffered sexual abuse overcome posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and other behavioral and emotional difficulties.

The program helps children to:

  • Learn about child sexual abuse as well as healthy sexuality
  • Therapeutically process traumatic memories
  • Overcome problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Develop effective coping and body safety skills

The program emphasizes the support and involvement of nonoffending parents or primary caretakers and encourages effective parent-child communication.

Cognitive behavioral methods are used to help parents learn to cope with their own distress and respond effectively to their children’s behavioral difficulties.

This CBT approach is suitable for all clinical and community-based mental health settings and its effectiveness has been documented for both individual and group therapy formats.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA)

Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA) is a community-organizing program. It’s designed to reduce adolescent (13 to 20 years old) access to alcohol by changing community policies and practices.

Initiated in 1991, CMCA has proven that effectively limiting the access to alcohol to people under the legal drinking age. It directly reduces teen drinking. But it also sends a clear message to the community that underage drinking is unacceptable.

CMCA employs a range of social organizing techniques to address legal, institutional, social, and health issues. The goal is to reduce youth alcohol use by eliminating illegal alcohol sales to youth by retailers. It also seeks to reducethe paractice of those 21 or older giving alcohol to youth.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Community Trials Intervention to Reduce High-Risk Drinking (RHRD)


Community Trials to Reduce High-Risk Drinking (RHRD) is a multicomponent, community-based program. It was developed to alter alcohol use patterns of people of all ages. For example, drinking and driving, underage drinking, heavy drinking, and related problems.

The program uses a set of environmental interventions including:

  • Community awareness
  • Responsible Beverage Service (RBS)
  • Preventing underage alcohol access
  • Enforcement
  • Community mobilization

The program’s aim is help communities reduce various types of alcohol-related accidents, violence, and resulting injuries.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Coping with Work and Family Stress


Coping With Work and Family Stress: A Workplace Preventive Intervention, is a 16-session weekly group intervention. It’s designed to teach employees how to develop and apply effective coping strategies to deal with stressors.

The program results in—

  • Actual reduction in work and family stressors
  • Increased use of social support
  • Changes in the meaning of stressful events
  • Less reliance on avoidance coping strategies
  • Increased use of a wider range of stress management approaches
  • Prevention or reduction of alcohol and drug use
  • Prevention or reduction of psychological symptoms such as depression and anxiety


Model Program: SAMHSA

Creating Lasting Family Connections (CLFC)


Creating Lasting Family Connections (CLFC) is a comprehensive family strengthening, substance abuse, and violence prevention curriculum.

It has scientifically demonstrated that youth and families in high-risk environments can be assisted to become strong, healthy, and supportive people. Program results, documented with children 11 to 15 years, have shown significant increases in children’s resistance to the onset of substance use and reduction in use of alcohol and other drugs.

CLFC provides parents and children with strong defenses against environmental risk factors . It does so by teaching appropriate skills for personal growth, family enhancement, and interpersonal communication. That includes refusal skills for both parents and youth. One of the most interesting alternatives to D.A.R.E.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Family Strengthening Program: OJJDP

Promising Program: DOE

Special Recognition Award: Office of National Drug Control Policy

YouthNet Model Program: Selected for worldwide replication by the International Youth Foundation



DARE To Be You (DTBY) is a primary prevention program for children ages 2 to 5 and their families. It significantly lowers the risk of future substance abuse and other high-risk activities.

It does so by improving parent and child protective factors. Specifically in the areas of communication, problem solving, self-esteem, and family skills.

Program interventions are designed to:

  • Improve parents’ sense of competence and satisfaction with being a parent
  • Provide parents with knowledge and understanding of appropriate child management strategies
  • Improve parents’ and children’s relationships with their families and peers
  • Boost children’s developmental levels

DTBY program materials are available in English and Spanish.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors and the National Prevention Network

Building Human Capital Award: U.S. Dept of Agriculture

Distinguished Service Award: Cooperative Extension Serv

Excellence in Prevention: Colorado Governor’s Award

Champion for Children and Families, Individual Award: Colorado Mothers, Inc.

Early Risers: Skills for Success


Early Risers is a multicomponent, high intensity, competency enhancement program. It targets elementary school children who are at high risk for early development of conduct problems, including substance use.

Early Risers is based on the premise that early intervention is necessary to target multiple risk and protective factors.

The program uses full strength intervention to move high-risk children onto a more adaptive developmental pathway.

Interventions include:

  • Child social skills training and strategic peer involvement.
  • Reading and math instruction and educational enrichment activities.
  • Parent education and skills training.
  • Family support, consultation, and brief interventions to cope with stress.
  • Proactive parent-school consultation.
  • Contingency management of aggressive, disruptive, and noncompliant behavior.

The enhanced competence gained through the Early Risers program leads to several positive outcomes. They include the development of positive self-image, good decisionmaking, healthy problem solving, assertive communication, and constructive coping.

These attributes and skills enable youth to resistl forces that encourage early substance use.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Families And Schools Together (FAST)


Families and Schools Together (FAST) is a multifamily group intervention. It’s designed to build protective factors and reduce the risk factors associated with substance abuse. The focus is on children 4 to 12 years old and their parents.

FAST systematically applies research on family stress, family systems, social ecology, and community development. The program has four goals.

  • Enhanced family functioning.
  • Prevention of school failure.
  • Prevention of substance abuse by any family members.
  • Reduced stress from daily life situations for family members.

One of the primary strategies of FAST is parent empowerment. Therefore,  parents receive support to be the primary prevention agents for their own children.

Entire families participate in program activities. They’re designed to build parental respect in children, improve family bonds, and enhance the family-school relationship.

FAST activities were developed to build the social capital of parents and provide a safe place to practice parenting. As a result, children increase their social skills and attention span. At the same time, they reduce their anxiety and aggression.

These outcomes reduce substance abuse, delinquency, and school failure.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Family Strengthening Program: OJJDP

School Reform Model: Office of Education for At-Risk Students, U.S. Department of Education

Innovation in Government (finalist): Harvard School of Government and Ford Foundation

Families That Care: Guiding Good Choices (GGC)


Families That Care—Guiding Good Choices (GGC) is a multimedia program. It’s for parents of children in grades four through eight. It gives them the knowledge and skills to guide their children through early adolescence.

Over the last 20 years, research has shown that positive parental involvement is an important protective factor. It increases school success and buffers children against later problems. They include such things as substance abuse, violence, and risky sexual behaviors.

The program aims to:

  • Strengthen and clarify family expectations for behavior
  • Enhance the conditions that promote bonding in the family
  • Teach skills to parents and children to resist drug use


Model Program: SAMHSA

Programs That Work: NIDA

Promising Program: OJJDP

Promising Program: DOE

Family Effectiveness Training (FET)


Family Effectiveness Training (FET) is a family-based program developed for and targeted to Hispanics.

It is effective in reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors for adolescent substance abuse and related disruptive behaviors. FET is for pre-adolescent years (6 to 12). It targets three family factors that place children at risk as they reach adolescence. They are (1) problems in family functioning. (2) Parent–child conflicts. (3) cultural conflicts between children and parents.

FET uses two primary strategies:

  1. Didactic lessons and participatory activities that help parents master effective family management skills
  2. Planned family discussions in which the therapist/facilitator intervenes to correct dysfunctional communications between or among family members

Interventions employed by FET cover:

  • Normal family changes during the transition to adolescence and related conflict resolution
  • Substance use and adolescent alternatives to using
  • Parent and family supervision of children and their peer relationships
  • Family communication and parenting skills


Model Program: SAMHS

Presidential Award: Society for Prevention Research

Research Award: Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

Family Matters


Family Matters is a home-based program designed to prevent tobacco and alcohol use in children 12 to 14 years old. The program is delivered through four booklets mailed to the home and follow-up telephone calls to parents by health educators. The booklets contain readings and activities. They’re designed to get families to consider how they function.

That can influence adolescent substance use, including:

  • Adult supervision and support.
  • Rule-setting and monitoring.
  • Family communication, attachment, and time together.
  • Education encouragement.
  • Family/adult substance use.
  • Substance availability.
  • Peer attitudes and media orientation toward substance use.

The program is designed for use with any family in which at least one adult can read English. Family Matters requires a modest time effort from participants and is capable of broad dissemination by many types of organizations.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Healthy Workplace


The Healthy Workplace program is a set of workplace substance abuse prevention interventions. It reduce unsafe drinking, illegal drug use, and prescription drug abuse. The program also improves the health practices of adult workers.

The Healthy Workplace integrates substance abuse prevention material into popular health promotion programs. In so doing, it defusing the stigma that accompanies substance abuse. Thus, it removes a  barrier to seeking help.

The program:

  • Reaches the mainstream of workers through health promotion.
  • Raises awareness of the benefits of healthful practices and the hazards of using alcohol, tobacco, and drug misuse.
  • Teaches employees specific techniques for improving health and reducing use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs
  • Uses videos to raise self-efficacy and provide models for healthful practices.


Model Program: SAMHSA

High/Scope Perry Preschool Program


The High/Scope Perry Preschool Program (High/Scope) uses an active learning approach. It teaches skills that will support their development through school and into young adulthood. The program gives teachers and caregivers a blueprint to guide them. It includes a daily routine, classroom and playground organization, and teacher-child interaction. These are designed to create a warm, supportive learning environment.

High/Scope’s goals are for young children to:

  • Learn through active involvement with people, materials, events, and ideas.
  • Become independent, responsible, and confident, ready for school and ready for life.
  • Learn to plan and do activities
  • Gain knowledge and skills in important content areas.

Every day the program offers one-on-one adult attention. It assures children that they can choose interesting things to do. It also gives them  a sense of control over themselves and their surroundings. One of the promising alternatives to D.A.R.E. because of its active learning approach.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Lela Rowland Prevention Award: National Mental Health Association

Model Program: Adults and Children Together (ACT) Against Violence

10 Best Preschools in America: Child Magazine (Demonstration Preschool)

Incredible Years


The Incredible Years series features three comprehensive, multi-faceted, and developmentally based curricula for parents, teachers, and children. It’s to promote emotional and social competence. This is to help two to eight year-olds prevent or reduce behavioral and emotional problems.

Young children with high rates of aggressive behavioral problems are at risk for developing substance abuse problems. They’re also at risk of becoming involved with deviant peer groups, dropping out of school, and becoming delinquent and violent. The aim of the teacher, parent, and child training programs is to reduce the chance of later delinquent behaviors.

Incredible Years addresses many risk factors related to conduct disorders in children in both school and home. In all three training programs, trained facilitators use videotaped scenes to structure the content and stimulate group discussion.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Program: OJJDP

U.S. Leila Rowland National Mental Health Award

JOBS Program


The JOBS Program is a group-based psychological educational intervention. It has the dual goals of promoting reemployment and enhancing the coping capacities of unemployed workers and their families.

The JOBS Program helps participants identify effective job-search strategies and improve job-search skills. It also helps them increase self-esteem, confidence, and remain motivated to keep job-searching until successful.

Unemployed job seekers  attend five intensive half day workshops over a 1- to 2 week period. The program is designed for persons 17-65 who wish to gain paid employment. It’s usually delivered in state employment offices.

Studies found that JOBS participants found higher paying jobs and had fewer depressive episodes while unemployed. Research also showed that increased tax revenues associated with the higher-paying jobs rapidly offset program costs.

Keep A Clear Mind (KACM)


Keep A Clear Mind (KACM) is a take-home drug education program for upper elementary school students and their parents. The take-home material consists of 4 weekly sets of activities to be completed by parents and their children together. The program also uses parent newsletters and incentives.

KACM lessons are designed to help children develop specific skills to refuse and avoid the use of “gateway” drugs. This early intervention program positively influences known risk factors for later substance use.


Model Program: SAMHSA

keepin’ It REAL


The keepin’ it REAL (Refuse, Explain, Avoid, Leave) program is a videoenhanced intervention. It uses traditional ethnic values and practices to protect against drug use. This school-based prevention program is for elementary, middle, and early high school students. The keepin’ it REAL program teaches communication and life skills to combat negative peer and other influences. The program extends resistance and life-skills by using a culturally-based narrative and performance framework.

keepin’ it REAL attempts to

  • Enhance anti-drug norms and attitudes.
  • Facilitate the development of risk assessment, decision-making, and resistance skills.

keepin’ it REAL uses a 10-lesson classroom curriculum along with five videos that demonstrate resistance strategies.


Model Program—SAMHSA


Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP)


The Leadership and Resiliency Program (LRP) is a school- and community-based program for high school students. It works to enhance youths’ internal strengths and resiliency, while preventing involvement in substance use and violence.

Program components include:

  • Resiliency Groups held at least weekly during the school day.
  • Alternative Adventure Activities that include ropes courses, white water kayaking, camping, and hiking trips.
  • Community Service in which participants are active in a number of community- and school-focused projects.

These alternative activities focus on community service, altruism, learning about managed risk, social skills, and conflict resolution.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Best Practices in Science-Based Programming: Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments

Achievement Award: National Association of Counties

Governor’s Recognition: State of Virginia

LifeSkills Training (LST)


LifeSkills Training (LST) is a program to influence major social and psychological factors that promote the early use of substances. It has has distinct elementary and middle school curricula. They are delivered in a series of classroom sessions over 3 years. The sessions use lecture, discussion, coaching, and practice.  They enhance students’ self-esteem, feelings of self-efficacy, ability to make decisions, and ability to resist peer pressure. This appears to be one of the best alternatives to D.A.R.E.

LST consists of three major components that address critical domains found to promote substance use. Students who develop skills in these three domains are far less likely to engage in high-risk behaviors.

The three components each focus on a different set of skills:

  • Drug Resistance Skills enable young people challenge  misconceptions about substance use. And also deal with peers and media pressure to engage in substance use.
  • Personal Self-Management Skills help students to examine their self-image and its effects on behavior,. To set goals and keep track of personal progress. Toidentify everyday decisions and how they may be influenced by others. And to analyze problem situations,and consider the consequences of alternative solutions.
  • General Social Skills give students skills to overcome shyness, communicate effectively and avoid misunderstandings. To use both verbal and nonverbal assertiveness skills to make or refuse requests. And to recognize that they have choices other than aggression or passivity.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Programs That Work (Discontinued): CDC

Model Program: OJJDP

Model Program: White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Exemplary Program: DOE

Programs That Work: NIDA

Lions-Quest Skills for Adolescence


Lions-Quest Skills for Adolescence (SFA) is a comprehensive positive youth development and prevention program. It’s designed for schoolwide and classroom use in grades six through eight. It involves educators, parents, and community members.

The goal is to develop in young adolescents:

  • Essential social and emotional competencies.
  • Good citizenship skills.
  • Strong, positive character.
  • Skills and attitudes consistent with a drug-free lifestyle.
  • An ethic of service to others within a caring and consistent environment.

The classroom curriculum-based program may be delivered daily, two to three times per week, or weekly. It uses inquiry, presentation, discussion, group work, guided practice, and reflection.

The goal is to build self-discipline, responsibility, good judgment, and respect for self and others. It develops positive commitments to the family, school, peers, and community in young people. SFA supports social and emotional learning, drug prevention, service learning, and character education initiatives.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Promising Program:  SDFSC

Select Program: The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Multidimensional Family Therapy

Multidimensional Family Therapy (MDFT) is a comprehensive and flexible family-based program. It’s designed to treat substance abusing and delinquent youth. MDFT is a multicomponent and multilevel intervention system.

Itt assesses and intervenes with the–

  • Adolescent and parent(s) individually.
  • Family as an interacting system.
  • Individuals in the family who impact the adolescent’s development.

MDFT interventions are solution-focused and strive to obtain immediate and practical outcomes. It can operate as a stand-alone outpatient intervention in any community-based clinical or prevention facility. It also can be incorporated into existing community-based drug treatment programs. That includes a hospital-based day treatment program. Treatment length is 4 to 6 months.

MDFT studies have been conducted at numerous wide-ranging geographic locales. They have included African-American, Hispanic/Latino and White youth between the ages of 11 and 18. Marijuana use decreases more rapidly, depression, anxiety and delinquent acts are more greatly reduced during MDFT compared to other treatments.

Multisystemic Therapy (MST)


Multisystemic Therapy (MST) is a family-oriented, home-based program that targets chronically violent, substance-abusing juvenile offenders 12 to 17 years old. It uses methods that promote positive social behavior and decrease antisocial behavior,. That includes substance use.

The primary goals of MST are to:

  • Reduce youth criminal activity.
  • Reduce antisocial behavior, including substance abuse.
  • Achieve these outcomes at a cost savings by decreasing incarceration and out-of-home placement rates.

MST views parents or guardians as valuable resources, even when they have serious and multiple needs of their own. A “multisystemic” approach, however, views these youth as involved in a network of interconnected systems. This includes individual, family, and extra-familial (e.g., peer, school, neighborhood) factors. It recognizes that it is often necessary to intervene in more than one of these systems.

MST addresses these factors in an individualized, comprehensive, and integrated manner.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Program: OJJDP

Effective Program: U.S. Surgeon General’s Reports on Mental Health and Youth Violence

Families Count Award: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Not On Tobacco

Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) is a tobacco cessation program. It helps regular smokers 14 through 19 years of age. Such smokers are likely addicted to nicotine. The program trains youth in

  • Self-management and stimulus control.
  • Social skills and social influence.
  • Stress management.
  • Relapse prevention.
  • Techniques to manage nicotine withdrawal.
  • Weight management.
  • Peer pressure.

The program’s 10-session curriculum can be delivered in a school or community setting and is designed to help youth–

  • Stop smoking
  • Reduce the number of cigarettes smoked
  • Increase healthy lifestyle behaviors
  • Improve life-management skills

N-O-T is a voluntary non-punitive program that uses life-management skills to help teen smokers handle situations. These include stress, decision making, and peer and family relationships. The program also addresses unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as alcohol or illegal drug use.

Nurse-Family Partnership Program


Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) provides first-time, low-income mothers home visitation services from public health nurses. NFP nurses work intensively with these mothers to improve maternal, prenatal, and early childhood health and well being. This intervention should help achieve long-term improvements in the lives of at-risk families. The intervention process is effective because it focuses on developing therapeutic relationships with the family.

NFP is designed to improve five broad domains of family functioning:

  • Health (physical and mental).
  • Home and neighborhood environment.
  • Family and friend support.
  • Parental roles.
  • Major life events (e.g., pregnancy planning, education, employment).

Starting with expectant mothers, the program addresses substance abuse and other behaviors that contribute to problems. These include family poverty, subsequent pregnancies, poor maternal and infant outcomes, suboptimal childcare, and low opportunities for the children.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Program: OJJDP

Olweus Bullying Prevention


Olweus Bullying Prevention is a multilevel, multicomponent school-based program. It’s designed to prevent or reduce bullying in elementary, middle, and junior high schools.

The program attempts to restructure the existing school environment to reduce opportunities and rewards for bullying. School staff is largely responsible for introducing and implementing the program. Their efforts are directed toward improving peer relations and making the school a safe and positive place.

Intervention against bullying is particularly important to reduce the suffering of the victims. It’s also important to counteract these tendencies for the sake of the aggressive student. That’s because bullies are much more likely than others to expand their antisocial behaviors.

Research shows that reducing aggressive, antisocial behavior may also reduce substance use and abuse.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Program: OJJDP

Parenting Wisely


The Parenting Wisely intervention is a self-administered, computer-based program. It teaches parents and their 9- to 18-year-old children important skills for combating risk factors for substance use and abuse. The Parenting Wisely program uses a risk-focused approach to reduce family conflict and child behavior problems. These include stealing, vandalism, defiance, bullying, and poor hygiene. The highly interactive and nonjudgmental CD-ROM format accelerates learning. Thus, parents use their new skills immediately.

The Parenting Wisely program:

  • Reduces children’s aggressive and disruptive behaviors.
  • Improves parenting skills.
  • Enhances family communication.
  • Develops mutual support.
  • Increases parental supervision and appropriate discipline of their children.

A highly versatile program, Parenting Wisely can be used alone, in a group, or with a practitioner. And it can be used in a variety of locations such as public agencies, schools, libraries, or at home. Semiliterate parents can use the Parenting Wisely program. That’s because a computer can read all text aloud. Printed program portions are written at the fifth-grade level, and the entire program is available in Spanish.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary II Program: OJJDP

Pathways Project: Youth Justice Board, London, England

PATHS: Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies


PATHS (Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies) is a comprehensive program. It’s designed to promote emotional and social competencies and reducing aggression and acting-out behaviors in elementary school children. It also enhances the educational process in the classroom. The curriculum for kindergarten through sixth grade is used by educators and counselors.

The PATHS curriculum teaches students::

  • Emotional literacy.
  • Self-control.
  • Social competence.
  • Positive peer relations.
  • Interpersonal problem-solving skills.

The PATHS curriculum improves protective factors and reduce behavioral risk factors. Evaluations have shown significant improvements for program youth. Although primarily focused on school and classroom settings, information and activities are also included for use with parents.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Program: OJJDP

Promising Program: U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Youth Violence

Promising Program:  SDFSC

Best Practices in Youth Violence Prevention Program: CDC

SELect Program: Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning

Positive Action (PA)


Positive Action (PA) is an integrated, comprehensive, and coherent program. It improves academic achievement and behaviors of children and adolescents (5 to 18 years old). The program is intensive, with lessons at each grade level from kindergarten to 12th. They’re reinforced all day, schoolwide, at home, and in the community. It includes school, family, and community components that work together or can stand alone.

For students, Positive Action improves:

  • Self-concept.
  • Academic achievement and learning skills.
  • Decisionmaking, problem solving, and social/interpersonal skills.
  • Physical and mental health.
  • Behavior, character, and responsibility.

PA improves school climate, attendance, achievement scores, disciplinary referrals/suspensions, parent and community involvement. Also services for special-need and high-risk students, efficiency and effectiveness. Positive Action positively affects instruction and classroom/school management skills of school personnel. It does this through improved self-concept, professionalism, and interpersonal/social skills and, in turn, has a positive impact on their personal lives.

Finally, Positive Action helps families by improving parent-child relations.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Promising Program: DOE

Model Program: DOE

Promising Practices: Education Commission of the States for Comprehensive School Reform

Governor’s Award: Idaho Exemplary Substance Abuse Programs



Project ACHIEVE is a school reform and school effectiveness program. It’s for use in preschool, elementary, and middle schools. It is designed to help schools, communities, and families strengthen their youth’s resilience.. Project ACHIEVE works to improve school and staff effectiveness.

It places particular emphasis on:

  • Social skills and social-emotional development.
  • Conflict resolution and self-management.
  • Achievement and academic progress.
  • Positive school climate and safe school practices.

Project ACHIEVE implements schoolwide positive behavioral and academic prevention programs. They focus on the needs of all students. It also uses intervention programs for at-risk and underachieving students. Finally, it coordinates comprehensive “wrap-around” programs for students with intensive needs.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: White House Conference on School Safety

Effective School Reform Program: Center for Effective Collaboration and Practice

Project ALERT


Project ALERT is a drug prevention curriculum for middle-school students (11 to 14 years old). It reduces both the onset and regular use of substances. The two-year, 14-lesson program focuses on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and inhalants.

Project Alert use participatory activities and videos to help:

  • Motivate adolescents against drug use
  • Teach adolescents the skills and strategies needed to resist prodrug pressures
  • Establish nondrug-using norms

Guided classroom discussions and small group activities stimulate peer interaction and challenge student beliefs and perceptions. Intensive role-playing activities help students learn and master resistance skills. Homework assignments that also involve parents extend the learning process to the home. These lessons are reinforced through videos that model appropriate behavior.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: DOE

Exemplary Program: White House Office of National Drug Control Policy

Endorsed by the National Middle School Association

Exemplary Program: National Prevention Network. Tthe National Association of State and Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors. The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America


Project EX

Project EX is a school-based, tobacco-use cessation program for high school youth 14 to 19 years of age. The program is delivered in a clinic setting and involves enjoyable, motivating activities. They include games, talk shows, and exercises such as yoga.

At the completion of this program, youth will be able to–

  • Stop or reduce cigarette smoking
  • State accurate information about the environmental, social, physiological, and emotional consequences of tobacco use

The eight-session curriculum is delivered over a 6-week period. It emphasizes coping with stress, dealing with nicotine withdrawal, relaxation techniques, and how to avoid relapse. The program builds interpersonal, coping, commitment-building, and decision-making skills, and provides training in self-control.

Project EX was developed for high school youth who currently use tobacco. It has been used with African American, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino and White youth. And in both suburban and urban locations.

Its participants had over twice the quit rate after five months in comparison to the control group. Project EX has been used in Wuhan, China. A classroom-based version of Project EX is being replicated with youth in alternative high schools.

Project Northland


Project Northland is a multilevel, multiyear program. It delays the age at which young people begin drinking. And reduces alcohol use among those who have already tried drinking. It also limits the number of alcohol-related problems of young drinkers. The project is designed for sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students. Project Northland addresses both individual behavioral change and environmental change. It also strives to change how parents communication, peer influence, and community responses to adolescent alcohol use.

Components include:

  • Parent involvement and education programs.
  • Behavioral curricula.
  • Peer participation.
  • Community activities.

Each intervention year has an overall theme and is tailored to the developmental level of the young adolescent. Alcohol is the focus of the Project Northland program.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: DOE

Rated “A”: Drug Strategies, Making the Grade



Project SUCCESS is Schools Using Coordinated Community Efforts to Strengthen Students. It prevents and reduces substance use among high-risk, multiproblem high school adolescents. Project SUCCESS was developed and tested with alternative school youth 14 to 18 years old. Tthe program places highly trained professionals in schools. There they provide a full range of substance use prevention and early intervention services.

Counselors use a variety of intervention strategies, including:

  • Information dissemination.
  • Normative and preventive education.
  • Counseling and skills training.
  • Problem identification and referral.
  • Community-based processes.
  • Environmental approaches.

In addition, Project SUCCESS links the school to the community’s continuum of care when necessary. It refers both students and families to human services organizations, including substance abuse treatment agencies.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Project Toward No Drug Abuse (TND)


Project Toward No Drug Abuse (TND) is a highly interactive program. It’s designed to help high school youth (14 to 19 years old) resist substance use. A school-based program, TND consists of twelve 40- to 50-minute lessons. They include motivational activities, social skills training, and decision making. TND is delivered through group discussions, games, role-playing exercise, videos, and student worksheets.

Project TND teaches participants increased coping and self-control skills. These help them to:

  • Grasp misperceptions that may lead to substance use.
  • Understand the consequences of using substances.
  • Correct myths concerning substance use.
  • Demonstrate effective communication, coping, and self-control skills.
  • State a commitment to discuss substance abuse with others.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: Health Canada

Model Program: Sociometrics, Inc.

Project Towards No Tobacco Use (TNT)


Project Towards No Tobacco Use (TNT) is a comprehensive, classroom-based curriculum. It’s designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use in youth in grades five through ten. It’s delivered in 10 core and 2 booster lessons.

TNT effectively helps youth to:

  • Resist tobacco use.
  • Demonstrate effective communication, refusal, and cognitive coping skills.
  • Identify how the media and advertisers influence youth to use tobacco products.
  • Identify methods for building their own self-esteem.
  • Describe strategies for advocating no tobacco use.

Project TNT counteracts several different causes of tobacco use simultaneously. That’s because the behavior is determined by multiple causes. This works well for a wide variety of youth who may have different risk factors influencing their tobacco use.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Programs That Work: NIDA

Exemplary Program: DOE

Programs That Work (Discontinued): CDC

Project Venture


Project Venture (PV) is an outdoors experiential youth development program. It’s designed for high-risk Native American youth. However, it’s also successful with middle school-age youth from a variety of other ethnic groups.

Project Venture aims to prevent substance use and related problems through–

  • Classroom-based problem-solving activities
  • Outdoor experiential activities
  • Adventure camps and treks
  • Community-oriented service learning

The program relies on Native American  traditional values to help youth. They develop positive self-concept, effective social skills, and a community service ethic. They also develop self-control, and increased decision-making and problem-solving skills.

Project Venture was  tested with early adolescents in grades five through nine in American Indian school and community settings. These were in rural and low socioeconomic areas. It was replicated in rural Alaska Native, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian settings. It’s also replicated in urban Native American settings. Program studies have found it to be effective in several ways. PV participants

  • Initiated first substance use at an older age.
  • Reduced lifetime tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Reduced frequency of tobacco and inhalant use.
  • Had less depression and aggressive behavior.
  • Increased school attendance.

Prolonged Exposure Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress


Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy is a cognitive-behavioral treatment program for individuals suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The program is a course of individual therapy. It’s designed to help clients process traumatic events and thus reduce trauma-induced psychological disturbances. Twenty years of research has shown that PE significantly reduces the symptoms of PTSD, depression, anger, and general anxiety.

The standard treatment program consists of 9 to 12, 90-minute sessions. PE includes three components:

  • Psychoeducation about common reactions to trauma and the cause of chronic post-trauma difficulties
  • Imaginal exposure: repeated recounting of the traumatic memory (emotional reliving)
  • In-vivo exposure: gradually approaching trauma reminders (e.g., situations, objects) that, despite being safe, are feared and avoided

PE therapy reduces PTSD symptoms including intrusive thoughts, intense emotional distress, nightmares and flashbacks, avoidance, and emotional numbing.  Also sleep disturbance, concentration impairment, irritability,  anger, loss of interest, hypervigilance and excessive startle response.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Service and Support to Victims and Witnesses of Crime Award: Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy

Protecting You/Protecting Me®


Protecting You/Protecting Me® (PY/PM) is a 5-year, classroom-based alcohol-use prevention curriculum. It’s for elementary students in grades one through five  and high school students in 11th and 12th grade.

Designed to reduce alcohol-related injury and death in our Nation’s youth, PY/PM:

  • Improves students’ knowledge about their brains and personal development.
  • Improves elementary students’ vehicle safety skills.
  • Increases high school students’ perceptions of the risks associated with underage alcohol use.
  • Improves high school students’ teaching and presentation skills.

The curriculum:

  • Incorporates the latest research on human brain development.
  • Focuses on the immediate risks of using alcohol before age 21.
  • Includes parental involvement activities.

The program can be taught by trained high school students, as well as by teachers. One of the promising alternatives to D.A.R.E.


Model Program: SAMHSA. Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse State Wide Replication Program

Endorsed by the National Elementary Principals Association

Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Reconnecting Youth (RY)


Reconnecting Youth (RY) is a school-based program for youth in grades 9-12 at risk for school dropout. These youth may also exhibit multiple behavior problems, such as substance abuse, aggression, depression, or suicide risk behaviors. Reconnecting Youth uses a partnership model involving peers, school personnel, and parents to deliver interventions.

There are three central program goals:

  • Decreased drug involvement.
  • Increased school performance.
  • Decreased emotional distress.

Students work toward these goals by participating in a semester-long high school class. It involves skills training for a positive peer culture. RY students learn self-esteem enhancement strategies, decision-making skills, personal control strategies, and interpersonal communication.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Programs That Work: NIDA

Grade “A” & “A+”: Drug Strategies

Residential Student Assistance Program (RSAP)


The Residential Student Assistance Program (RSAP) is a substance abuse prevention program. It’s for high-risk adolescents 14 to 17 years old. The program places highly trained professionals in residential facilities. There they provide residents with a full range of substance abuse prevention and early intervention services.

The program uses proven prevention strategies that include:

  • Information dissemination.
  • Normative and preventive education.
  • Problem identification and referral.
  • Community-based interventions.
  • Environmental approaches.

RSAP counselors work with adolescents individually and in small groups. Intervention services are fully integrated into the adolescent’s overall experience at the residential facility.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways–RiPP


Responding in Peaceful and Positive Ways (RiPP) is a school-based violence prevention program. It’s designed to provide students in middle and junior high schools with conflict resolution strategies and skills. It combines a classroom curriculum of social/cognitive problem solving with real-life skill-building opportunities such as peer mediation. Students learn to apply critical thinking skills and personal management strategies to personal health and well-being issues.

Delivered over 3 years, RiPP teaches key concepts that include:

  • The importance of significant friends or adult mentors
  • The relationship between self-image and gang-related behaviors
  • The effects of environmental influences on personal health

Using a variety of lessons and activities, students learn about the physical and mental development that occurs during adolescence; analyze the consequences of personal choices on health and well-being; learn that they have nonviolent options when conflicts arise; and evaluate the benefits of being a positive family and community role model.

In a within-school evaluation of RIPP, compared to control students, RIPP-6 students at post-test were significantly less likely to

  • Have disciplinary code violations for carrying weapons.
  • Have in-school suspensions.
  • Report fight-related injuries.

Finally, they were more likely to participate in their school’s peer-mediation program. RIPP-7 participants showed a significant increase in their knowledge of curriculum material and a trend for greater decreases in anxiety.

At 6-month follow-up, RIPP-7 students reported lower rates of peer pressure to use drugs. They also showed a significant increase in prosocial responses to hypothetical problem situations.

In another study students reported more favorable attitudes toward nonviolence and greater knowledge of the material covered in the intervention. Significant differences on the frequency of aggression were found at post-test. An evaluation of RIPP-8 is currently underway.


Model Program: SAMHS

Effective Program:  SDFSC

SAFE Children: Schools and Families Educating Children


SAFE Children is a community- and school-based program. It helps familiesin high-risk communities manage educational and child development. It focuses on neighborhood and school characteristics affect children and families, children’s school achievement, their social adjustment, and their maturation. The program aims to help children 5 to 6 years old make the transition into elementary school.

Families with children entering first grade and living in inner-city, high-risk neighborhoods are enrolled. This 20-week family program that aims to:

  • Build and support networks among parents.
  • Develop parenting skills and knowledge of child development.
  • Give parents a better understanding of schools and how they work.
  • Ensure that children have the skills to master basic reading skills.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Safe Dates


Safe Dates is a school-based program. It’s designed to stop or prevent psychological, physical, and sexual abuse of daters. The program is ntended for male and female middle and high school students. The Safe Dates program can stand alone or fit within a health education or family or general life skills curriculum. Safe Dates also may be used with drug and alcohol prevention and general violence prevention programs.

The Safe Dates program has a curriculum with nine 50-minute sessions. Also a 45-minute play to be performed by students, and a poster contest.

Program goals are to:

  • Change adolescent dating violence norms.
  • Change adolescent gender-role norms.
  • Improve conflict resolution skills for dating relationships.
  • Promote victim and perpetrator’s beliefs in need for help and awareness of community resources for dating violence.
  • Promote help-seeking by victims and perpetrators.
  • Improve peer help-giving skills.

All program materials, including reproducible student handouts, are included in the Safe Dates binder. Suggestions for a six- or four-session curriculum are provided. However, program fidelity is best maintained by completing the nine-session curriculum, the play, and the poster contest.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program:  SDFSC

Promising Program: OJJDP

Second Step

Second Step is a classroom-based social skills program for preschool through junior high students (4 to 14 years old). It is designed to reduce impulsive, high-risk, and aggressive behaviors; and increase children’s social-emotional competence and other protective factors.

Group discussion, modeling, coaching, and practice are used. They increase students’ social competence, risk assessment, decisionmaking ability, self-regulation, and positive goal setting.

The program’s lesson content varies by grade level and is organized into three skill-building units covering:

  • Empathy: teaches young people to identify and understand their own emotions and those of others
  • Impulse control and problem solving: helps young people choose positive goals; reduce impulsiveness; and evaluate consequences of their behavior in terms of safety, fairness, and impact on others
  • Anger management: enables young people to manage emotional reactions and engage in decisionmaking when they are highly aroused


Model Program: SAMHSA

Exemplary Program: DOE

“A” Program: Drug Strategies

SMART Team: Students Managing Anger and Resolution Together Team


SMART Team is an eight-module, multimedia software program. It’s designed to teach violence prevention methods to students in grades six through nine. The program’s content fits well with commonly used conflict-mediation curricula and other violence prevention strategies schools may implement. Operation is straightforward, so students can access the modules independently for information, skill-building practice, or to resolve a conflict. This independence eliminates the need for trained adult implementers.

One of the promising but still unproven alternatives to D.A.R.E.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Promising Program: DOE


Start Taking Alcohol Risks Seriously (STARS) for Families


Start Taking Alcohol Risks Seriously (STARS) for Families is a health promotion program. It’s for preventing alcohol use among at-risk middle and junior high school youth. The goal of STARS for Families is to have all youth postpone alcohol use until adulthood. STARS for Families matches prevention strategies to each child’s specific needs. It results in avoidance of, or reductions in, alcohol use among participating youth.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Promising Prevention Program: The Urban Institute

Strengthening Families Program (SFP)


The Strengthening Families Program I (SFP-I) involves elementary school aged children and their families. SFP uses family systems and cognitive-behavioral approaches to increase resilience and reduce risk factors.

It builds on protective factors by:

  • Improving family relationships.
  • Improving parenting skills.
  • Increasing the youth’s social and life skills.

SFP offers incentives for attendance, good behavior in children, and homework completion to increase program recruitment and participation.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Model Program: NIDA

Effective Program: OJJDP

Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth 10-14


The Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth 10–14 (SFP 10–14) is a video-based intervention. It’s designed to reduce adolescent substance abuse and other problematic behaviors in youth 10 to 14 years old. The program is delivered within parent, youth, and family sessions using narrated videos that portray typical youth and parent situations.

Sessions are highly interactive and include role-playing, discussions, learning games, and family projects. They’re designed to:

  • Improve parenting skills.
  • Build life skills in youth.
  • Strengthen family bonds.

The basic program is delivered over 7 weeks, usually in the evenings. Four optional booster sessions can to be held 3 to 12 months after the basic sessions. Bringing parents and youth together in SFP 10–14 has been particularly effective in achieving goals.

A print version of the parent sessions is available for non-English speaking Hispanic/Latino parents. (Program instructions are in English; posters, handouts, and scripts for role plays are available in both Spanish and English.)


Exemplary Program: DOE

Exemplary Program: OJJDP

Effective Program: NIDA

Teaching Students to be Peacemakers


Teaching Students To Be Peacemakers (Peacemakers) teaches conflict resolution skills to all students, faculty, and staff members. It is based on the premises that conflicts cannot be suppressed or denied. That conflicts may have positive or negative consequences, depending on how they are managed. Students learn how to engage in problem-solving negotiations and how to mediate schoolmates’ conflicts.

The program aims to—

  • Make the school a safe place where violence and destructive conflicts are prevented..
  • Teach students, faculty, and staff how to mediate schoolmates’ conflicts.
  • Ensure all school members use the same procedures for resolving conflicts.
  • Enable teachers and administrators to model constructive conflict resolution.
  • Free teachers’ time and energy otherwise spent on managing classroom conflicts.

It’s delivered through twenty 30-minute lessons. The program serves as a vital component in an overall strategy to reduce violence in schools. It also enhances academic learning and achievement. Now translated into Spanish, Peacemakers is used in the United States, Canada, and many other parts of the world.


Model Program—SAMHSA

Team Awareness (for the Workplace)


Team Awareness is a workplace-training program. It addresses behavioral risks associated with substance abuse among employees, their coworkers and, indirectly, their families. It increases employee help-seeking for and supervisor responsiveness to, troubled workers, enhance the work climate, and reduce problem drinking.

These results are achieved by—

  • Promoting social health.
  • Promoting increased communication between workers.
  • Improving knowledge and attitudes toward alcohol- and drug-related protective factors in the workplace.
  • Increasing peer referral behaviors.

The training consists of six modules and is conducted across two 4-hour sessions with a company or business any size. Larger companies generally require multiple training sessions. Team Awareness is highly interactive and uses group discussion, communication exercises, a board game, role play, and self-assessments. Modules cover policy ownership, enabling, stress management, listening skills, and peer referral.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Too Good For Drugs (TGFD)


Too Good For Drugs (TGFD) is a school-based prevention program. It’s designed to reduce the intention to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs in middle and high school students. Developed for use with students in kindergarten through 12th grade, TGFD has a  curriculum for each grade level.

TGFD is designed to develop:

  • Personal and interpersonal skills relating to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use
  • Appropriate attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use
  • Knowledge of the negative consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and benefits of a drug-free lifestyle
  • Positive peer norms

The program’s highly interactive teaching methods encourage students to bond with prosocial peers. Students have many opportunities to participate and receive recognition for involvement. TGFD also impacts students through a family component used in each grade level. This is one of the promising alternatives to D.A.R.E.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Excellence in Prevention: American Medical Association

Shining Star Award: Southeastern Drug-Free Schools

First Place in Prevention: Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association/Department of Children and Families Best Practices Conference


Too Good for Violence (TGFV)

Too Good for Violence (TGFV) is a school-based, violence-prevention/character education program that improves student behavior and minimizes aggression. TGFV helps students in grades K–12 learn the skills they need to get along peacefully with others.

The program promotes a “CAREing” approach to violence prevention by teaching–

  • Conflict resolution
  • Anger management
  • Respect for self and others
  • Effective communication

The program’s highly interactive teaching methods encourage students to bond with prosocial peers.

Too Good for Violence is a universal prevention program for all students. It’s designed to address the aggression and violence that often begin in early childhood.

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT)


Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TF-CBT) was formerly Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Child and Adolescent Traumatic Stress (CBT-CATS). It’s a treatment intervention designed to help children, youth, and their parents overcome the negative effects of traumatic life events.  It was developed by integrating cognitive and behavioral interventions with traditional child abuse therapies.

TF-CBT can be provided to children 3 to 18 years old, and their parents, by trained mental health professionals. It can be used in a variety of situations. CBT-CATS targets symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which often co-occur with depression and acting-out behaviors.

PTSD includes an array of anxiety symptoms as well as:

  • Intrusive thoughts of the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of reminders of the trauma
  • Emotional numbing
  • Excessive physical arousal/activity
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping or concentrating

The intervention also addresses issues commonly experienced by traumatized children.


Model Program: SAMHSA

Betty Elmer Award: Family Resources of Pittsburgh (Drs. Cohen and Mannarino)

Outstanding Professional Award: American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children

Wellness Outreach At Work

The Wellness Outreach at Work program provides comprehensive health risk-reduction services. It does to all employees at a workplace, using health screening, followup, and worksite- health promotion programs. The Wellness Outreach program is based on five principles.

(1) Reaching out to all employees.

(2) Providing comprehensive care that includes cardiovascular and cancer risk screening, and personalized follow-up health-coaching.

(3) Conducting waves of followup through mailings, telephone calls, and personal contacts.

(4) Making participation voluntary and friendly.

(5) Providing long-term direct employee support and long-term support within the work environment (e.g., low-fat cafeteria options, peer-led health promotion, etc.)

The program has been used in more than 100 worksites and has reached more than 75,000 employees.

Wellness Outreach at Work accomplishes its results at an annual cost of about $200 per employee. Worksites that have used the program report major reductions in disease care costs.


Source: Material in the public domain posted by SAMSHA.

With so many good alternatives to DARE there is no reason to use it.

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