The Prevention Taskforce of the NH Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery in collaboration with the NH Department of Education has recently released a white paper titled, “The Top 5: Actions schools can take to help prevent and reduce youth alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.”
These recommendations are the result of a lengthy review of federal, state and local best practices, State level data, and community input. They build upon the ideas set forth in the 2013 State Plan: Collective Action-Collective Impact.
“The rising rates of youth substance abuse remind us that the heroin and substance abuse crisis is an all-hands-on-deck moment for our state,” Governor Hassan said. “We must continue to work together to protect our youth from the dangers of substance abuse by strengthening prevention and education efforts in our schools and communities.”
“The work going on in our state to increase the public’s awareness of substance abuse is critical,” commented Commissioner of Education Virginia M. Barry, Ph.D. “Our teachers are on the frontlines to help combat this crisis facing our state. Our hope is that this white paper will help to inform Districts about ways that they enhance and expand the good work they are already doing.”
The State Plan describes the crucial role that elementary schools, middle schools and high schools play in assessing and promoting behavioral health. Schools serve a majority of youth and their families. Schools provide positive adult mentors and health services for students, and they provide a system of education that can include substance misuse prevention education. Furthermore, a school’s policies and procedures, codes of conduct, and other structures can help to support alcohol and drug-free choices, to identify students at high risk, and to assist youth and families in accessing appropriate services.