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June 13, 2019
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



New York State Education Department and Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Issue Guidance and Resources for Schools to Address Substance Abuse

The New York State Education Department and the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services today issued updated joint guidance and resources for school districts to assist with addressing substance abuse. The collaboration provides districts with information to assist students, teachers and parents  looking for help and support related to substance use.

“To be effective in preventing substance abuse, it’s imperative that we continue to raise awareness and educate students in every corner of the state of the dangers of addiction,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.  “The Board of Regents and I are committed to providing school districts with the resources and information they need to prevent and help treat substance abuse and ensure our young people make informed decisions.”

“Substance abuse can impact anyone, and it is destroying lives every day,” said State Education commissioner MaryEllen Elia.  “To effectively combat this epidemic, we need to put information and treatment resources within reach of all those who need it. I thank our partners at OASAS for their expertise and commitment to this important initiative.  Together, we can keep students across New York State healthy and safe.”

“Reaching young people during one of the most impressionable times of their lives is critical in preventing problems related to alcohol and drug misuse,” said NYS OASAS Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez. “These resources will serve as excellent tools in helping to teach them how to avoid the perils of substance use and addiction and form healthy lifelong habits.”

The updated guidance reflects changes to Education Law §3038 that require the superintendent of each school district, in consultation with the local Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) District Superintendent where applicable, to designate an employee of the school district or BOCES to provide individuals with information on how to find available substance use related services.

The guidance also provides information on the role of the designee, information for administrators and boards of education regarding substance use policies in schools, partnering with BOCES and community-based organizations, along with a wealth of reliable resources on substance use issues.

Resources and guidance are available online.  The webpage is broken down into the following categories with materials for printing, download, and streaming:

Parents and Community: Materials regarding illicit substances, teen vaping and more.  Informational awareness is addressed through brochures to understand prevention, experimenting, intervention, recovery, and safeguarding medications. Talk2Prevent resources offer parents strategies for addressing substance use prevention including tips on conversation starters and  making a plan to help teens and young adults get out of a difficult situation. 

Educators and Administrators:  Updated documents to address substance use, including a registry of Evidence-Based Prevention Programs, related memos from NYSED and OASAS, and other resources to provide the required information in Health Education (e.g., functional knowledge) related to Heroin & Opioid use prevention and instructional resources.

School Nurse and Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) Professionals: Materials regarding screening, brief intervention, and possible referral to treatment (SBIRT), overdose prevention using Naloxone, and a variety of related resources.

Kitchen Table Toolkit:  Video and guidance documents to use with community forums and in a classroom setting.  A powerpoint is included to assist with discussion. 

Warning Signs:  Resources on recognizing the warning signs of addiction, signs of an overdose, and how to reverse an overdose.  

Introduction to Prevention:  Resources regarding evidence-based practices and statewide prevention resources; finding a local OASAS prevention provider  that can assist schools with resources related to substance use prevention, as well as community coalitions.

Introduction to Treatment:  Resources regarding different levels of care by viewing brief videos about treatment, recovery and support; find an OASAS treatment provider in your area that can assist as needed, as well as Regional Services that are available in your area.

Youth-Centered Services:  Provides contact information regarding regional resources providing support to young people and families.

Consumable Materials:   Fact sheets, brochures and other printed pieces along with recorded information available to download, stream and/or print. Included amongst these resources is an Emmy nominated documentary film, demonstrating real New Yorkers sharing their experiences in various stages of recovery.  “Reversing the Stigma” is available to watch and share. 

Anyone in need of help for addiction should call the New York State HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY or text: HOPENY (Short code: 467369).

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