Substance Abuse

Back to Resources Index

Information about Marijuana

Social Norms

Colorado School Safety Resource Center Substance Abuse Materials

SAMHSA'S New Underage Drinking Prevention Toolkit

New -- 

Spark a Conversation

The teen years often bring challenges and multiple opportunities for experimentation with drugs and alcohol that can lead to substance misuse. Focused on finding innovative prevention tools for the addiction epidemic, the SAFE team came up with a unique way to spark conversations about addiction with young adults

Marijuana: What Parents Need to Know, December 2014

Preventing Youth Marijuana Use in Colorado: Information for Schools, (Updated 2020)

Other Substance Abuse Materials

Above the Influence

  • Launched by the Office of National Drug Contol Policy, the Above the Influence campaign follows an extensive consultation with experts in the fields of health communications and drug prevention.
  • Above the Influence Toolkit with helpful information for schools and adults

America's Dropout Crisis: The Unrecognized Connection to Adolescent Substance Use

  • Published in March 2013 by the Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH)
  • Associations between substance use, academic failure, and dropout are strong and well-recognized among researchers and educators who study adolescent substance use.
  • Lower high school grades and motivation and higher risk of dropping out are associated with use of illegal substances. This report discusses decades of scientific studies that show the connection between adolescent substance use and school failure.
  • CSSRC Staff Review  11/27/13

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) site provides links to both federal and non-federal resources on school health including tools, program evaluation, resources on developing, implementing, and evaluating local wellness policies, etc.

Children's Safety Network (CSN)

  • Children’s Safety Network National Resource Center for Injury and Violence Prevention is dedicated to working with state, territorial and community Maternal & Child Health and Injury & Violence prevention programs to create an environment where all children and youth are safe and healthy. We work with states and territories to infuse knowledge, expertise, and leadership to reduce injury, hospitalization, disability and death for all children and youth.

Colorado Department of Education

  • Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities
    • The purpose of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Program (SDFSC)  is to support programs that prevent violence in and around schools and the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs; involve parents; and coordinate these efforts and resources with other federal, state, and community entities. Grant funds are allocated (based on poverty rate and student population) to school districts to establish, operate, and improve local programs of school drug and violence prevention, early intervention, rehabilitation referral, and education in elementary through secondary schools.
  • Dropout Prevention and Student Engagement
    • The Colorado Department of Education has collected K-12 public school drug, alcohol, and tobacco incidents since the 2000-2001 school  year.  A ten-year trend can be viewed at:  ATOD Colorado School Trends.
    • Provides resources that may be helpful to educate school staff, students, parents, and the broader public about the dangers of substance abuse.  Information includes how using drugs may impede learning and undermine student achievement.
    • Understand the Big Deal: How Marijuana Harms Youth

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

  • Since 1992 Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) has been training local grassroots groups, known as community anti-drug coalitions, in effective community problem-solving strategies, teaching them how to assess their local substance abuse-related problems and develop a comprehensive plan to address them.
  • Online Rx Abuse Prevention Toolkit contains facts, strategies and tools to prevent and reduce teen prescription medicine misuse in your community. This newly revised toolkit is based on CADCA's Seven Strategies for Effective Community Change. Incorporating these strategies will help you formulate, modify and implement your prevention and intervention strategies.

Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (d-RAP)

  • The Denver Resource for Awareness and Prevention (Denver RAP) is a community-based source of information and tools to help identify and prevent teen alcohol and drug abuse, and to promote fun, healthy, positive lifestyle choices.
  • Denver RAP was developed by the Denver Office of Drug Strategy (DODS) in 2011 to help meet the overwhelming need for substance abuse prevention information, education and other resources in Denver.
  • The site provides information and resources on youth drinking and other substance abuse topics to parents, youth, service providers, and the local community.
  • d-RAP 85 Social Norming Campaign

Do Health and Education Agencies in the United States Share Responsibility for Academic Achievement and Health? A Review of 25 Years of Evidence About the Relationship of Adolescents’ Academic Achievement and Health Behaviors

  • Published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, January 2013
  • The study found that 96.6% of studies reported statistically significant inverse relationships between health risk behaviors and academic achievement. Health risk behaviors included violence, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors contributing to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, inadequate physical activity and unhealthy dietary behaviors. The study highlights the importance of leaders in education and health working together to make wise investments in our nation’s school-aged youth that will benefit the entire population.
  • Easy to Read Summary published by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

Drugs, Substance Abuse, and Public Schools: A Legal Guide for School Leaders Amidst Evolving Social Norms

  • This legal guide is intended to help schools navigate the complicated patchwork of federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the presence and use of both authorized medications and illicit drugs in school.
  • This publication will guide school board members in policy making and school board officials in identifying issues and appropriate responses to help ensure student well being and to maintain safe school environments.

Find Youth Info

  • was created by the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs (IWGYP), which is composed of representatives from 18 federal agencies that support programs and services focusing on youth. The IWGYP promotes the goal of positive, healthy outcomes for youth.

Front Range Clinic - Medical Mobile Unit 

Do you struggle with addition? Recovery is a process. You just have to start. Front Range Clinic brings medication assisted treatment (MAT) to you! In conjunction with the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health (OBH), MAT mobile units have been designed specifically to provide addiction treatment to rural communities. The MAT mobile units will travel to designated communities to provide these services. Call (970) 616-2756 or view schedule at Front Range Clinic Mobile-Unit Website.

Get Smart About Drugs (GSAD)

Healthy People 2020

Adolescent SBIRT

  • Adolescent SBIRT Toolkit for Educators. This curriculum offers skills-based education on Adolescent Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT). The curriculum is comprised of an Instructor's Toolkit containing the Learner’s Guide to Adolescent SBIRT with companion slide decks and supplemental resources, and ​the ​web-based SBI with Adolescents simulation program.

National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children

  • National DEC's approach for addressing the needs of children in dangerous drug environments focuses on the formation of community-based partnerships that encourage agency personnel from across multiple disciplines to coordinate their mutual interests, resources and responsibilities. Supports state services and local communities by helping to develop efficient and effective strategies and tools that better leverage existing resources. Provides national leadership, strategic planning, training, and technical assistance to our alliances and network members and advocates for intervention on behalf of these innocent victims.
  • Includes resources, monthly newsletters, online trainings. 

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) | en Español

National Center for Campus Public Safety

Social Norms in Alcohol Abuse Prevention

Alcohol Awareness Month is a public health program organized by Facing Addiction with NCADD designed to increase outreach and education regarding the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol. As Alcohol Awareness Month continues, one focus on college campuses is prevention. One prevention mechanism that has shown great efficacy is the social norms approach. Social norms are the informal rules that govern behavior in groups and societies and include things like shaking hands when meeting someone, covering a sneeze, or raising your hand to get attention in a group.
According to the National Social Norms Center, the social norms approach to behavior change "combines lessons learned from a variety of fields including social marketing, sociology, behavioral psychology and evaluation research." The social norms approach considers that college students tend to overestimate the amount of alcohol use and abuse by their peers, and this is a conception that begins at a young age. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation (PDF), "Only 2% of 6th-12th graders think that seniors don't drink. In reality, 25% of 12th graders report not drinking alcohol, a healthier proportion than their younger classmates perceive."

The social norms approach:

  • focuses on positive messages about healthy behaviors and attitudes that are common to most people in a group.
  • does not use scare tactics or stigmatize an unhealthy behavior.
  • avoids moralistic messages from authorities about how the target group "should" behave. Instead, it simply presents the healthy norms already existing in the group.
  • builds on the assets already in the community, through participation by community members, and by highlighting those who make healthy choices.

The last bullet above is important from an implementation perspective. The Social Norms Approaches Using Descriptive Drinking Norms Education: A Review of the Research on Personalized Normative Feedback recommends targeting students who are at higher risk for heavier alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems. Utilizing peers in their networks, like student athletes, those with similar academic interests, or those who participate in Greek life or other social networks, to share the social norms message is an effective mechanism for prevention. For information on how to start a social norms campaign, visit the For Practitioners section of the National Social Norms Center website.

National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP)

    • The authors provide a theoretical overview on which to base policies, procedures, and practices that will help professionals—and their corresponding agencies—effectively supervise underage drinkers in the community. They also discuss the legal issues that professionals may encounter when working with these youth.
    • Presents findings from a literature review that investigated how drinking can affect a youth's physical, emotional, and neurological health.
    • Discusses personal, legal, and economic consequences of underage drinking.
      • This 2 hour course explores the value and effective means of using community volunteers to support both the prevention and enforcement of underage drinking. The use of volunteers can serve as a force multiplier in communities where enforcement resources are stretched thin. The course looks at the recruitment, selection, training, utilization, supervision, and assessment of these community volunteers.

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)

  • A component of the Executive Office of the President, ONDCP was created by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. ONDCP advises the President on drug-control issues, coordinates drug-control activities and related funding across the Federal government, and produces the annual National Drug Control Strategy, which outlines Administration efforts to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences.
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Drug Endangered Children

Operation Prevention

PACT360 - Police and Communities Together

  • The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, with funding from the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance, has launched a new and innovative website. PACT360 features five law enforcement-led community prevention education programs designed to deal with existing drug and alcohol issues and empower parents and teens to protect themselves against these dangers.

A Parent's Guide to Preventing Underage Marijuana Use | en Español

  • Published by the Seattle Children's Foundation in 2014
  • This guide was created in Washington and contains information about Washington resources and laws, however the advice is applicable in Colorado.
  • The guide contains information about effects of marijuana on adolescent physical and behavioral health, tips for parents to talk to their children about not using marijuana even if they have used it, and signs that a teen may be using marijuana.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America

  • The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a nonprofit organization that unites parents, renowned scientists and communications professionals to help families raise healthy children. The centerpiece of this effort is an online resource center at, featuring interactive tools that translate the latest science and research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into easy to understand tips and tools.
  • The Medicine Abuse Project is a campaign to curb teen medicine abuse.  A suite of resources for educators is available and is tailored specifically for teachers, school administrators, school nurses and other specialized instructional support personnel to help prevent medicine abuse in schools, home and communities.


  • An initiative of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
  • Aims to empower teens to avoid prescription drug abuse.
  • Activity Guide provides ideas for engaging educational activities. 


  • Launched in July 2013 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Use this site to identify unknown medications in pill form. Identification can take place with either physical characteristics or by manufacturer or name. Once a medication is identified, Pillbox provides links to drug information and drug labels.
  • CSSRC Staff Review 12/4/13

Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) 

  • Preparing for Opiod-Related Emergencies for K-12 Schools and Insitutions of Higher Education. 

    • Opioid overdose deaths among children and teenagers have tripled since 1999, according to a recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research article, indicating that opioid abuse and misuse continue to be a problem for schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs). To help the educational community address such an emergency, the REMS TA Center has released a fact sheet on Preparing for Opioid-Related Emergencies for K-12 Schools and Institutions of Higher Education.

The Real Cost Campaign

  • Launched by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2014
  • Every day in the United States, more than 3,200 youth under age 18 smoke their first cigarette —and more than 700 youth under age 18 become daily smokers—highlighting a critical need for stronger, targeted youth tobacco prevention efforts.4 To combat this critical issue, FDA’s first youth tobacco prevention campaign, “The Real Cost,” targets at-risk youth aged 12-17 who are open to smoking or already experimenting with cigarettes.
  • Free campaign materials available on the website include fact sheets, posters, postcards, social media content, and ads for print, television, radio and websites.

Second Chance - Tobacco Suspension Alternative - Free Online Colorado Program

  • Second Chance is a FREE on-line, interactive, and self-directed alternative to suspension program for teens who violate tobacco policy at school, or tobacco law in the community. The program can also be used with teens who are experimenting with tobacco, but have not violated any policy or law. Teens can be referred to Second Chance by staff in schools, local health agencies, and youth-serving organizations.
  • Contacts: Kathi Pappas, K-12 Tobacco Prevention Initiative Consultant
  • Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion & Education, 303.503.7967
    OR Laurie S. Schneider, MPH, Project Director, K-12 Tobacco Prevention Initiative
    Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion & Education, Phone: 303.867.9116

Speak Now!

State of Colorado Underage Drinking Enforcement Website

  • Hosted by the Department of Revenue, this application contains information and data on underage drinking in Colorado.

Student Drug Testing and Positive School Climates: Testing the Relation Between Two School Characteristics and Drug Use Behavior in a Longitudinal Study

  • Published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, January 2014
  • Drug testing was not found to be associated with reductions in student drug use. Positive school climate is found to be associated with a reduction in student cigarette and drug use.

Substance Abuse among Minors en Español

  • Posted April 2013.
  • Radio program on EDUCARadio from Denver Public Schools to provide information to Spanish speaking students and parents.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Surgeon General

Talk. They Hear You.

Tobacco-Free Schools Policy Checklist Toolkit

  • Colorado Tobacco-free Schools Policy Checklist Toolkit (2010) created by the Rocky Mountain Center for Health Promotion an Education, the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment's State Tobacco Education & Prevention Partnership.
    The Colorado Tobacco-free Schools Checklist Toolkit includes tools and strategies to assist Colorado schools in developing and implementing comprehensive tobacco-free policies. 
    The Check-list provides:
    • Guidance to make sure that policy meets or exceeds the standards of Colorado's Tobacco-free Schools Law
    • Best practices for communicating tobacco policies and procedures
    • Best practice resources and programs for tobacco prevention and cessation
    • Resources to assess tobacco use behavior around the school
    • An activity to assess where signage is located on school property
    • Communication tips
    • Strategies for enforcement

Too Smart to Start


Back to Resources Index

Web Link Disclaimer: The Colorado School Safety Resource Center (CSSRC) provides links from this site to external websites because of their potential interest or usefulness to the safe and positive school environment, an education community or the general public. It attempts to monitor such sites on a regular basis. However, the CSSRC cannot be responsible for the content of any site external to its own. Further, by linking to other sites, the CSSRC is not endorsing any particular product, practice, service, provider or institution, nor does it necessarily endorse views expressed or facts presented on these sites. In addition, neither the CSSRC nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information linked to from this site.