AODA’s Connection to School Safety


When you think about school safety, do you consider how your AODA/drug and alcohol prevention program fits into the picture? A few years back, schools received Title IV federal funding for prevention programming.  This funding category was termed “Safe and Drug-Free Schools.” Bullying, violence, alcohol and drugs all threaten the safety of students and staff. Further, research has shown that alcohol and drug use is correlated with all types of violence.

I recently wrote about the connection between building assets in youth and lowering the rates of high risk behavior.This approach that will yield immense prevention benefits. To learn more, visit the Search Institute’s website.

In addition, there are numerous research-based, effective prevention programs and curricula to be used with students of all ages, beginning when they are very young.  If you aren’t sure where to start, visit  the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) directory of tested and approved programs.

Finally, do you have a staff that truly connects with your students? Is your student services department fully staffed and given the time to do what they do best – help students with social, emotional and academic challenges? Does your school community include supporting parents with resources and presentations to help them with their important work of raising emotionally healthy children?

Yes, it’s a big job to attend to all of these components, but it’s likely that you have many of them in place already. Perhaps it’s just a matter of tweaking your programming to verify that you are addressing the needs of students in all grades and all areas prevention. Then, you’ll be able to breathe easier and worry a lot less.