Botvin LifeSkills Training Featured at SAMHSA’s Prevention Day

February 22, 2018

WHITE PLAINS, NY – The Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) program was featured at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) recent 14th Annual Prevention Day on February 5, 2018. This annual event was held in conjunction with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA’s) 28th National Leadership Forum at National Harbor, MD. 

LST was featured in a 90-minute Institute attended by prevention practitioners, community leaders, and behavioral health professionals gathered to hear from internationally known prevention expert Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, developer of the LifeSkills Training (LST) program, founder and president of National Health Promotion Associates, and Professor Emeritus at Cornell University’s Weill Cornell Medical College. LST is a highly acclaimed, evidence-based substance abuse and violence prevention program that has been used in schools and communities throughout the US and in 39 countries around the world. Over 30 studies published in scientific journal show that LST can cut adolescent tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use by as much 80%.

Dr. Botvin described the LST approach and the underlying theory of this positive youth development approach to substance abuse prevention. He also summarized the research evidence documenting the effectiveness of LST for preventing tobacco use, underage drinking, and illicit drug use. Among the most exciting research findings were those showing that LST can prevent prescription drug abuse and teen opioid misuse. Further strengthening the potential impact of LST to prevent opioid misuse is a new opioid and prescription drug abuse prevention module available either online as an e-learning program or as a classroom program in print form.

Dr. Botvin was joined at the morning Institute by community prevention leaders who described the success of LST implementation in their communities and included Ronna Yablonski, Executive Director of Cambria County (PA) Drug Coalition and Kat Allen, Coalition Coordinator of CTC Partnership for Youth, a Program of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (MA). Rounding out the Institute was Craig Zettle, Vice President at NHPA, who addressed critical issues related to long-term sustainability of implementing prevention programs that have been tested and proven effective.

Those attending learned the theory underlying LST, as well as evidence of its effectiveness. Speakers also covered important dissemination issues regarding the adoption, implementation, and sustainability in schools, family, and community settings.

“We’ve come a long way in the field of prevention, and now it’s really about a risk-focused approach. In fact, the LST program has been tested through 35 years of rigorous scientific research that identified these approaches as effective, producing lasting results, and with the potential to save taxpayers a good deal of money,” said Dr. Botvin. “Let’s stop drug abuse before it begins. Now is truly the time to unleash the power of prevention.”

The LifeSkills Training program has been extensively tested and proven effective at reducing tobacco, alcohol, opioid, and illicit drug use by as much as 80%. Long-term follow-up studies also show that it produces prevention effects that are durable and long-lasting.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the largest training event for the prevention field. Attendees learn strategies to address substance abuse and hear from prevention experts, federal administrators, and concerned policymakers. The Forum brings together attendees representing coalitions from all regions of the country and internationally, government leaders, youth, prevention specialists, addiction treatment professionals, addiction recovery advocates, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-based leaders.



Preventing Overdoses in Youth: The Case for Supplying Schools with Naloxone

September 1, 2017

Drug overdose has become a leading cause of accidental death in the United States. As the opioid epidemic devastates communities across the country, adolescents are being increasingly exposed to opioids. This upsetting trend has not shown signs of slowing, as teen and young adult overdose death rates have steadily increased since 1999.

A 2014 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) survey reported that almost half a million teens and 1.2 million young adults abused opioids and heroin during that year. In addition, a 2015 National Institutes of Health (NIH) study on drug abuse revealed that opioid abuse is the #1 cause of overdose death for 15-24 year olds and heroin abuse is the #4 cause of overdose death for the same age group after prescription and illicit drug abuse. This study also showed that teens and young adults are more than 4 times more likely to overdose on opioids today than they were 18 years ago.  

Due to these data and several incidents of drug overdose deaths in schools around the country, some school districts have begun to require school nurse facilities to be stocked with naloxone. Naloxone is an antidote that can treat narcotic overdose in emergency situations by quickly blocking opioid receptors. Many school officials, school nurses, and local politicians believe that supplying schools with the life-saving drug will give students another chance.1naloxone-kit.jpg

There has been opposition to the use of naloxone because of its cost and for fear that it will encourage more drug use; however, organizations such as the President’s Opioid Commission and The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) support making naloxone more available. NASN recognizes the responsibility school nurses have for protecting students and therefore determined that naloxone should be included in schools’ emergency preparedness response plans. NASN released a position statement emphasizing that “harm reduction approaches to [opioid pain reliever] overdose include expanding access to naloxone, an opioid overdose antidote, which can prevent overdose deaths by reversing life-threatening respiratory depression.” NASN’s rationale is based on the SAMHSA five strategic approaches to prevent overdose death:

  1. Call for help
  2. Check for signs of opioid overdose
  3. Support the person’s breathing
  4. Administer naloxone
  5. Monitor the person’s response

The NASN position statement concludes by stating the importance of preventing adolescents from ever abusing opioids.

National Health Promotion Associates, the creators of Botvin LifeSkills Training (LST) (an evidence-based prevention program used in schools and communities around the world) has created a Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Module for the LST Middle School program. A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that the LST Middle School program delivered in 7th grade classrooms helped students avoid abusing prescriptions, opioids, and other drugs throughout their teen years. This new module can be used as a standalone module or as part of the LST Middle School program.

Contributing Writer: Alexandrea Adams is a senior at Dartmouth College studying Biology and Public Policy. She is currently interning at National Health Promotion Associates.



Up to $10 million in “Resiliency in Communities After Stress & Trauma” Grants Available from SAMHSA

March 23, 2017

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is accepting applications for Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma (ReCAST) grants totaling up to $10 million over the course of five years.

moneyThe purpose of this program is to assist high-risk youth and families and promote resilience and equity in communities that have recently faced civil unrest through implementation of evidence-based, violence prevention, and community youth engagement programs. The grants will also help promote access to trauma-informed behavioral health services.

SAMHSA expects to award up to two grantees up to $1 million each annually. The length of the project period will be up to five years, with projected available funding totaling $10 million. The actual amount may vary, depending on the availability of funds.

WHO MAY APPLY: Eligible applicants are municipalities, including counties, cities, and other local governments, in partnership with community-based organizations in communities that have faced civil unrest in the past 24 months. See Section III-1 of the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for complete eligibility information.

HOW TO APPLY: You must go to and the SAMHSA website to download the required documents to apply for this SAMHSA grant. Your application must be submitted through Please refer to PART II, Section I-1 and Section II-1 of the FOA for registration requirements.

APPLICATION DUE DATE: May 17, 2017 by 11:59 pm Eastern time. Applications must be received by the due date and time to be considered for review. Please carefully review Part II of the FOA, Section IV for application and submission requirements.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Applicants with questions about program issues should contact Melodye Watson at (240) 276-1748 or sends e-mail). For questions on grants management issues contact Gwen Simpson at (240) 276-1408 or sends e-mail).


For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.

Youth Perception of Marijuana Harm Decreases as Marijuana Concentrate Becomes More Potent

June 30, 2016

Although marijuana use among youth poses a risk to health, nationally only 1 in 5 adolescents perceived it as such. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, this misperception among youth exists at a time when marijuana concentrates continue to become more potent, which is cause for public concern. This demonstrates the need to educate young people about various forms of marijuana and their related health consequences and harms.

According to SAMHSA’s Short Report, “State Estimates of Adolescent Marijuana Use and Perceptions of Risk of Harm from Marijuana Use: 2013 and 2014 ,” in the 12 to 17 age group, approximately 1.8 million youth reported using marijuana in the past month.

Health risks associated with youth marijuana use  include poorer education/employment outcomes ,cognitive problemsincreased likelihood of vehicle crashes , and increased addiction risk .

The Drug Enforcement Agency describes marijuana concentrate  as a substance containing highly potent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component of marijuana). This concentrate is often referred to as oil or “710” (“OIL” spelled upside down and backwards). THC levels in this oil could range from 40 to 80 percent, which is about four times stronger than what is found in a “high grade” marijuana plant.

Read more from SAMHSA

SOURCE: US Department of Education 06-29-16 ED’s OSHS PREVENTION NEWS DIGEST-Vol. 12, No. 24

New Grant Opportunities from SAMHSA

February 10, 2016


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Strategic Prevention Framework – Partnerships for Success (SPF-PFS) grants.  The purpose of this grant program is to address two of the nation’s top substance abuse prevention priorities: 1) underage drinking among persons aged 12 to 20; and 2) prescription drug misuse among persons aged 12 to 25.  At their discretion, states/tribes may also use grant funds to target an additional, data-driven substance abuse prevention priority (marijuana, heroin, etc.) in their state/tribe.  The SPF-PFS grant program is intended to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance misuse and its related problems while strengthening prevention capacity and infrastructure at the state, tribal, and community levels.

Eligibility is limited to states and tribal entities that have completed a SPF SIG grant and are not currently receiving funds through SAMHSA’s SPF-PFS grant.  SAMHSA is limiting eligibility to these entities because they have the greatest likelihood of achieving success through the SPF-PFS grant program.  Current SPF-PFS and SPF SIG grantees (with the exception of eligible SPF-PFS and SPF SIG grantees that are in a No Cost Extension) are excluded from applying for the SPF-PFS grant because they already have the resources in place to support the SPF infrastructure and address their areas of highest need, which can include underage drinking or prescription drug misuse.

Anticipated Total Available Funding: $1,230,000

Anticipated Number of Awards: Up to 3

Anticipated Award Amount: From $318,543 to $1,230,000 per year

Length of Project: Up to 5 years

Contact Information:

Program Issues

Tonia F. Gray, MPH
240-276-2492 Phone

Grants Management and Budget Issues

Eileen Bermudez
(240) 276-1412

Application deadline is 4/12/16

This week is National Prevention Week

May 18, 2015

National Prevention Week is a SAMHSA-supported annual health observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. National Prevention Week 2015 will take place May 17-23, 2015. Be sure to use the hashtag #Chooseprevention for all social media postings related to national prevention week!

The theme for 2015 is “The Voice of One, the Power of All.”

Purpose of National Prevention Week

There are three primary goals of National Prevention Week:

  • To involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues and in implementing prevention strategies
  • To foster partnerships and collaboration with federal agencies and national organizations dedicated to behavioral and public health
  • To promote and disseminate quality behavioral health resources and publications

Why Does National Prevention Week occur in May?

National Prevention Week is held each year during the third week of May, near the start of summer. Summer is a season filled with celebrations and recreational activities where substance use and abuse can happen, such as graduation parties, proms, weddings, sporting events, and outdoor activities. National Prevention Week is timed to allow schools to take part in a prevention-themed event before the school year ends, raising awareness in students of all ages. The percentages of marijuana, cigarette, and alcohol initiates among youth increase between spring (April and May) and summer (June and July), and the timing of National Prevention Week helps to educate youth and their families at this crucial time of year.

Make the Timing of Your Event Fit Your Community

Most organizations conduct prevention activities throughout the year, culminating in a community-wide event during National Prevention Week. If there are circumstances that make scheduling an event at the end of May difficult, there are other ways to participate. For example, you may choose to hold events during another week in May leading up to National Prevention Week instead. You might also consider scheduling prevention activities before or after the third week of May to accommodate the needs of your community.

Here’s what matters most: your participation! No matter when you can hold your prevention event, getting involved is most important. Whenever you participate in National Prevention Week, you join the nationwide effort to prevent substance abuse and mental disorders, show others that prevention works, and support the health and well-being of your community.

How Communities Get Involved

During National Prevention Week, community organizations across the country host health fairs, block parties, educational assemblies, town hall meetings, memorial walks, social media campaigns, outdoor events, and more. Thousands of people across the United States and in U.S. territories attend these events and help raise awareness about the importance of preventing substance use and mental disorders.

2015 Daily Health Themes

  • Prevention of Tobacco Use – Monday, May 18
  • Prevention of Underage Drinking & Alcohol Abuse – Tuesday, May 19
  • Prevention of Opioid & Prescription Drug Abuse – Wednesday, May 20
  • Prevention of Illicit Drug Use & Youth Marijuana Use – Thursday, May 21
  • Prevention of Suicide – Friday, May 22
  • Promotion of Mental Health & Wellness – Saturday, May 23

Click here to learn more about the SAMSHA National Prevention Week and how you can get involved! 

SAMHSA Announces Funding to Prevent Substance Abuse – Applications due 5/26

April 8, 2015

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) has issued a funding opportunity announcement under its fiscal year 2015 Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) Partnerships with Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) grants.  Known by its short title “MSI CBO grants,” the purpose of this program is to prevent and reduce substance abuse and transmission of both HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among at-risk young adults (ages 18-24), including African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives. The program seeks to address behavioral health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities by encouraging the implementation of strategies to decrease the differences in access, service utilization and outcomes among the racial and ethnic minority populations served.

To meet the needs of the program’s target populations, CSAP expects MSIs to partner with one or more CBOs to provide integrated substance abuse, HCV, and HIV prevention programs. Eligible MSIs include Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).

With $10.5 million in funding available, up to 35 three-year projects will be awarded. Applications are due May 26, 2015. Read more about this funding opportunity at SAMHSA’s website.

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