Teacher at the head of a classroom

Educators, Schools & Colleges

Educators, administrators, and school nurses and counselors help shape young lives


Students who gamble or use drugs and/or alcohol are more likely to experience impaired academic performance, increased delinquency, and disrupted personal relationships. As a result, school administrators, teachers, nurses, coaches and other school staff have a role in preventing substance use and gambling in youth and young adults.

  • Talk- Brief screening questions and check-ins can help educators and school counselors/nurses notice if something may be wrong.
  • Pay attention- Learning opportunities are available to help you identify risk factors at different levels and know how to respond while being a protective influence.
  • Educate- Incorporate substance use, addiction, and gambling prevention information into your health education curriculum that aligns with New York State learning standards and requirements.

Local prevention providers work with schools to provide educators, administrators, and other school staff with evidence-based prevention practices and programs to implement in school settings. Contact a prevention provider near you to coordinate a presentation. Information on warning signs, addiction, prevention and conversational aids specific to school districts are available under Resources for School Districts. 


Any substance use by minors is considered risky and is a health issue that often goes undetected. School physicians and counselors can incorporate screening questions into regular check-ins with students to help identify risk factors early and prevent addiction later in life. In New York State, screening related to substance use must be related to professional scope of practice.

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is an evidence-based process to help identify risky substance use patterns of alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, gambling, and suicide with the goal of reducing and preventing related health consequences, disease, accidents and injury.

 Learn more about SBIRT



Learning Thursdays Series

Learning Thursdays is a free, recurring online learning and professional development opportunity developed by OASAS. Learning Thursdays cover a wide range of topics related to addiction, treatment and recovery. Some courses are even eligible for New York State Education Department Social Work continuing education credit.

This episode of Learning Thursday is devoted to Substance Use Prevention that features school-based prevention efforts.


New York State Center for School Health Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Prescription Drug, Opioid, and Heroin Abuse and Addiction Webinar- This webinar shares how prescription drug abuse has impacted the opioid and heroin epidemic in New York State. It contains many resources health educators can use to augment drug prevention education curriculums and lessons.
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Webinar- New York State Center for School Health offers a New York State Department of Health and State Education Department- approved webinar, Opioid Overdose Prevention Training for School Personnel. The webinar also includes useful tips and Information for recognizing signs of opioid overdose and requirements of those administering naloxone. The training is required for all non-medical school personnel who administer naloxone on-site. Note: 1 CTLE/PD credit is awarded after successful completion.
  • Vaping Webinar- The E-Cigarettes and Vaping Webinar, provides an overview of what electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) are, how they are used by youth, marketing strategies which have fueled their popularity and the immediate and long-term health consequences. Resources that school staff can provide youth and families to assure they have accurate, research-based information regarding their use.


Operation Prevention

The DEA and Discovery Education have joined forces to combat a growing epidemic of prescription opioid misuse and heroin use nationwide. Operation Prevention's mission is to educate students about the true impacts of opioids and kick-start lifesaving conversations in the home and classroom.

For more information on New York State health education and learning standards, visit New York State Education Department’s Curriculum and Instruction website.  Information about wellness and health-related topics and initiatives in schools can be found on the New York State Education Department’s Student Support Services website and the  New York State Center for School Health.


Guidance on substance use issues in New York State is offered by from NYS OASAS, NYS State Education Department, and NYS Department of Health.

Policy Recommendations

  • School policies: School policies create environments that protect youth by establishing the rules and regulations students and faculty must follow. Update or create policies to ensure they include prevention efforts to increase protection and responses for underage gambling, drinking, or vaping that supports getting help towards wellness for students and staff because addiction is a disease. Consider how gambling can be included in yours.
  • Host gambling-free activities Did you know that raffles are considered a form of gambling? Consider having gambling-free activities available when youth and young adults are present. Decreased exposure to gambling opportunities helps decrease their chances of gambling. You’ll find a great template for a gambling-free event policy at bottom of the YOU(th) Decide site.
  • “How to Hold a Gambling-free EventYOU(th) Decide informational handout explaining gambling-free events
  • Fundraising alternatives:  Fundraising alternatives to gambling for schools
  • International Centre for Youth Gambling Problems and High-Risk Behaviors: Dedicated to providing information about youth gambling and other high-risk behaviors.

College Campuses

The College Learning Institute

The following video outlines best practices, strategies, and lessons learned from recipients of the College Environmental Prevention Grant, which include colleges and universities across the state. The purpose of the multi-year competitive grant is to create prevention coalitions on college campuses across New York with the goals of preventing and reducing underage substance use/misuse and changing societal norms around alcohol and addiction.

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Video: College Learning Institute: Campus Best Prevention Practices