Last Updated: August 2021
Author: Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs, Vermont Department of Health
Over the last decade, the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs has supported a comprehensive, evidenced-based substance abuse prevention approach. This means prevention efforts are delivered across a wide range of categories including individual, family, school, community, and through effective policy implementation. These efforts have been successful in reducing Vermont youth involvement with alcohol and drugs. For example, according to the Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the percentage of students reporting alcohol use prior to age 13 has significantly decreased since 2005 (-42%).Significant reductions were also achieved in the percentage of students who have ever used alcohol (-20%) and those who have used alcohol in the past 30 days (-28%). Schools are indispensable partners in Vermont’s substance abuse prevention strategy.
Early identification of substance use issues has been shown to improve treatment and recovery efficacy and significantly enhance overall prevention outcomes. Screening and referral services for substance abuse and mental health using evidence-based tools (CRAFFT and GAIN short screener) are essential components of our Whole School, Whole Community and Whole Child framework grants. Select staff at funded schools are trained in the use of these tools. Screening should be used to supplement (not replace) the judgment of clinical line staff. Additional information should also be considered, such as collateral reports, background information, etc. While in most cases referral is appropriate, not everyone who screens positive should be referred on for additional services, which is why the target for this performance measure is less than 100%.
Please note: Many schools when partially or fully remote in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This decreased opportunities to meet and interact with students.