Substance Use Prevention

Utilizing both prevention and intervention efforts, as well as a policy framework, RMC Health can support districts, schools, and communities to address youth substance use.

Policy

Clear and consistent policies are a key component of tobacco and marijuana prevention in schools. RMC Health partners with public health agencies and school districts to guide them through the process to review, revise, and strengthen school protocols and district policies that promote substance-free schools and address substance use on campuses. Additionally, we can support communication and enforcement of policies in school districts.

  • Title & Description
    Link
  • Tobacco-Free Schools Policy Checklist Toolkit
    Tool for developing, strengthening, and implementing comprehensive policies.
  • Policy Development and Implementation Schematic: How It Should Look
    Model for district-level comprehensive tobacco policy and translating that policy into school-level practice.
  • Sample Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Schools Policy
    Examples of policy language from Colorado school districts.
  • Communication Tips
    Practical tips for communicating your tobacco-free schools policy, including sample language and methods to reach students, staff, parents and families, and visitors.
  • Strategies for Enforcement
    Practical tips for enforcing your tobacco-free schools policy including alternatives to suspension, quit support, athletics, and cultural responsiveness.
  • Essential Components of Effective Tobacco Prevention for Schools
    Five essential components for effective school tobacco use prevention, including examples for each component with staff development woven throughout.
  • Colorado Tobacco-Free Schools Law
    The language of the law (CRS 25-14-103.5).
  • Colorado Teen Tobacco Use Prevention Act
    The language of the law (CRS 25-14-301).

Prevention

Prevention efforts start with understanding school and community data around risk behaviors, as well as those factors that set young people at higher risk for engaging in risk behaviors or serve as protective forces for preventing these risk behaviors (risk and protective factors). RMC Health can help you through every step of the process:

  • Identify data sources and analyze the data
  • Prioritize risk behaviors to address based on the data
  • Select evidence-based or promising practices or programs to mitigate risk factors and strengthen protective factors
  • Create implementation and sustainability plans
  • Title & Description
    Link
  • Stanford Medicine Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
    Theory-based and evidence-informed resources created by educators, parents, and researchers aimed at preventing middle and high school students’ use of tobacco and nicotine.
  • CATCH My Breath E-Cigarette Prevention Program
    An evidence-based e-cigarette, JUUL, and vape prevention program designed to increase youth knowledge of the dangers of vaping and increase positive perceptions about choosing a vape-free lifestyle.
  • Botvin Life Skills
    Research-validated substance abuse prevention program proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse, and violence by targeting the major social and psychological factors that promote the initiation of substance use and other risky behaviors.

Intervention

Implementing evidence-based programs that address the specific risk and protective factors in your school community are essential for effective substance use prevention and intervention. RMC Health can provide support to implement a selected program consistently throughout your school or district and help you overcome barriers and obstacles that often arise in the implementation process.

Disciplinary practices in schools are also an opportunity for intervention and student support. Alternatives to suspension that keep students in school and include individualized support, education, and progressive disciplinary strategies can decrease incidents of problem student behaviors and support positive learning outcomes. In addition, creating clear discipline codes that specify graduated consequences for infractions can decrease the high incidence of student suspensions. Using discipline incidents as opportunities for learning and reflection is a far more effective positive approach to student behavior change than mandating exclusion from school and the opportunity for an education. RMC Health can work with you to create disciplinary practices that meet the needs of your school community:

  • Review, revise, and strengthen disciplinary practices
  • Design equitable and restorative discipline policies
  • Communicate disciplinary policies
  • Consistent enforcement of disciplinary policies

Also, RMC Health offers an alternative to suspension education program for youth who have violated a tobacco policy at school or in the community. The Second Chance program is a web-based, interactive, and self-directed program designed to increase student awareness about the skills and strategies to resist risky behaviors that impact their health. In addition to traditional tobacco products, the program addresses e-cigarettes and vaping, as well as marijuana.

  • Title & Description
    Link
  • Second Chance Program
    Second Chance is an educational tool designed to address the health risks that tobacco and e-cigarettes pose to youth.
  • American Lung Association N-O-T: Not On Tobacco – Teen Smoking Cessation Program
    N-O-T is taught by a trained and certified adult in ten, 50-minute sessions. It is most effective in a small group format (6-10 participants) that emphasizes teamwork. The easy-to-use method helps teens quit by addressing total health in order to develop and maintain positive behaviors.
  • Out of School Suspension: Consequences and Alternatives
    This paper describes the extent to which out-of-school suspensions are occurring, research on the effects of suspension, and alternatives to the use of suspension as a disciplinary practice.
  • STEPP Minor in Possession Brief
    Created by the Colorado State Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership, this brief describes why responding to vaping with Minor in Possession laws are ineffective for reducing youth tobacco/nicotine use, exacerbate disparities, and are duplicative of existing policies.
  • Addressing Student Tobacco Use in Schools
    Created by the Public Health Law Center, this review addresses why punitive consequences for tobacco use in schools are ineffective, and presents model disciplinary procedures that support students instead.

Trainings

RMC Health offers a variety of trainings to build your skills and confidence to address youth substance use in your school communities, including policy development, communication, enforcement, and intervention. Contact us to schedule a training.

  • Tobacco-Free Schools: Effective Partnerships & Policy

    Partner with schools and districts to review and strengthen local policies

    Session description:

    Take the first steps toward working with schools and districts to create and maintain a tobacco- and nicotine-free environment. In this training, participants will build foundational knowledge by learning about the laws and policies that govern and prohibit tobacco and nicotine use in Colorado schools and communities. Put your new knowledge into practice by identifying local school or district priorities and challenges, and establishing partnerships to develop services that are aligned with those priorities. Lastly, participants will review legal requirements and leverage best practices to assess school district policies and partner to strengthen them.

    Participants will be able to:

    • Describe essential components of effective tobacco prevention for schools
    • Create a plan to strengthen partnerships with school districts and schools
    • Use the requirements of Colorado Tobacco Free Schools Law and best practices to review district policies

    Audience:

    Local public health professionals who work with schools to achieve shared goals for tobacco-free school environments and educational outcomes.

  • Tobacco-Free Schools: Effective Communication and Enforcement

    Take tobacco-free schools from policy to practice

    Session description:

    Set the stage for success by improving how you communicate and enforce your tobacco-free schools policies. This professional learning opportunity is designed specifically for grantees of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Education State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership, along with their school district, school, and community partners. Participants will gain knowledge, skills, and resources to help them strengthen their partnerships and create and maintain tobacco-free school environments through better communication and enforcement of policy.

    Participants will be able to:

    • Strengthen partnerships with schools and districts
    • Develop strategies to communicate tobacco-free schools policy
    • Develop strategies to enforce tobacco-free schools policy

    Audience:

    Local public health professionals who work with schools to achieve shared goals for tobacco-free school environments and educational outcomes.

  • Tobacco-Free Schools: Systems Change

    Understand how to create systemic, sustainable change in schools and districts

    Session description:

    This interactive session gives participants the opportunity to learn first-hand how to foster healthy school communities by creating change in policies, systems, and environments. Utilizing the “Systems Thinking, Systems Change” simulation, participants will practice creating change within a school system through learning about systems thinking and organizational change. Come away with skills that are transferable to other areas where change is needed in policies, systems, and environments.

    Participants will be able to:

    • Explain why people are resistant to change and how to address resistance to support systems change
    • Apply systems thinking to their work in schools and districts
    • Identify next steps to begin increasing systems change in their work with school districts and schools
    • Develop actionable strategies to create and maintain tobacco-free school environments

    Audience:

    Local public health, school, and community-based professionals who work with schools to achieve shared goals for tobacco-free school environments and educational outcomes.

  • Addressing the Youth Vaping Epidemic

    Understand the issues and create an action plan

    Be part of the change. School and district staff, families, and community members all have a role in addressing their community’s challenges related to youth vaping and JUUL use. RMC Health offers several workshops and presentations to help any member of a community gain expertise in education and prevention efforts.

    These workshops and presentations include:

    • Colorado law and school policy related to tobacco and other nicotine products
    • Relevant 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data
    • Emerging trends and culture in youth tobacco and other nicotine product use
    • Protective factors for youth to resist nicotine and other substance use
    • How to talk with youth about nicotine use
    • Identifying next steps for your school and community

    Audience:

    Classroom teachers, school counselors, administrators, and non-instructional personnel; health-services and mental-health professionals; parents and family members; and community members.

  • Train the Trainer: How to Talk with Young People About Vaping, JUULs, and Other Electronic Nicotine Products

    Bring expert knowledge and skills back to your community

    Session description:

    Equip your community with effective strategies to prevent and reduce youth electronic nicotine use. Learn how to prepare for and deliver the “Start the Conversation” workshop, a skill-building workshop for professionals who present to trusted adult groups on youth vaping, JUULs, and other electronic nicotine products. This “train the trainer” session prepares participants to deliver a workshop in their own community, and is designed for youth-serving professionals, public health staff, district and school employees, and community-based partners.

    Participants will be able to:

    • Deliver the “Start the Conversation: How to Talk with Young People About Vaping, JUULs, and Other
    • Electronic Nicotine Products” workshop
    • Access materials and resources to address youth vaping in their community
    • Identify next steps for presenting to school staff, community organizations, and/or parents/guardians in their community

    Audience:

    Youth-serving professionals; local public health agencies; district, school, and community-based adult professionals who are asked to present to trusted adult groups on vaping.

  • Addressing Youth Marijuana Use

    Understand the issues and develop trusted adult skills

    As social norms and laws around marijuana change, school and district staff, families, and community members need the confidence, knowledge, and skills to prevent youth marijuana use. RMC Health offers several workshops and presentations to help any member of a community gain expertise in education and prevention efforts.

    These workshops and presentations will include:

    • Federal and Colorado law and school policy related to retail and medical marijuana
    • Relevant 2017 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data
    • How to talk with youth about marijuana use

    Audience:

    Classroom teachers, school counselors, administrators, and non-instructional personnel; health-services and mental-health professionals; parents and family members; and community members.

  • Train the Trainer: Putting Together the Pieces for Trusted Adult Conversations

    Bring expert knowledge and skills back to your community

    Session description:

    Equip your community with effective strategies to prevent and reduce youth marijuana use. Learn how to prepare for and deliver the “Putting Together the Pieces for Trusted Adult Conversations” workshop, a skill-building workshop for professionals who present to trusted adult groups on youth marijuana use. This “train the trainer” session prepares participants to deliver a workshop in their own community, and is designed for youth-serving professionals, public health staff, district and school employees, and community-based partners.

    Participants will be able to:

    • Deliver the “Putting Together the Pieces for Trusted Adult Conversations” workshop
    • Access materials and resources to address youth marijuana use in their community
    • Identify next steps for presenting to school staff, community organizations, and/or parents/guardians in their community

    Audience:

    Youth-serving professionals; local public health agencies; district, school, and community-based adult professionals who are asked to present to trusted adult groups on youth marijuana use.

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