School Leaders
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School administrators and other school leaders have the responsibility of formulating the approach that your school or district will take in addressing the issue of substance use. Substance use issues can greatly affect the health and achievement of students. Whether children are trying to deal with the substance use problems of a friend or family member or are battling substance use disorders themselves the toll that drugs and alcohol problems can take on our children can be severe and long- term. The resources below are presented as information to assist you as you decide how to best lead your schools in this important area.

What Works and What Doesn’t

As we chart the approach that our schools take to the ever changing problem of substance use disorder it is important for us to consult research about which approaches work in schools and which do not. You may be surprised to learn that many of the approaches that schools have taken in the past have proven to be ineffective. Check out the articles below to see what more recent research has to say about school based efforts.

PREVENTION TOOLS: What Works, What Doesn’t provided by the Washington State Healthcare Authority

Preventing Drug Use Among Children & Adolescents A Research Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders provided by National Institute on Drug Abuse

Student Assistance Programs in Pennsylvania

Each public and charter school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is required to make a student assistance program available to their students and families. A high quality student assistance team can be extremely effective in helping at-risk students overcome obstacles that can significantly impact their learning. One of those obstacles can be substance use disorder. Check out the guide below provided by SAMSHA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration.


To learn more about student assistance programs in Pennsylvania check out The PA Network for Student Assistance Services.

Legal Guide for School Leaders

School leaders are often faced with complex legal issues when formulating drug and alcohol policies and decisions. The National School Boards Association has provided the following guide to help school leaders approach this constantly evolving issue in our schools.

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

School Based Programs Offered By Compass Mark

Compass Mark is an organization whose goal is to “prevent addiction through education, skill-building and community mobilization.” One of the ways that Compass Mark aims to achieve that goal is by providing school-based programs designed to meet the needs of students of different age groups. To learn about the programs that Compass Mark has to offer visit their school programs page here.