I believe if we confront facts and fears, we achieve real power and unleash a capacity for change.” ~Margaret Heffernan

What is Predictable is Preventable… that’s where YOU come in.

Substance Use/Mental Health Prevention — how Individuals, Families, and Communities can support it.

Communities are made up of sectors that when strategically aligned have proven to be successful when collaborating with one another in efforts to create a safe and healthy environment for community members.

A community that promotes coordination and collaboration can transform themselves and make efficient use of community resources and achieve real outcomes where each works together toward a common goal of bringing awareness through education, shattering stigmas by sharing stories, and providing resources commonly associated with substance use/mental health disorders.

Community Sectors below:

Drug Free Community

For more information on the Seven Strategies for Community Change

Even in the presence of the most favorable circumstances, the journey into and through the teenage years is a perilous period in lifespan development. A few of the most hazardous behaviors confronted during this period involves substance use/mental health concerns.

While prevention is aimed at reducing substance abuse among youth and bringing awareness of mental health concerns is of utmost importance, over time, reducing substance abuse among adults is also important. Addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse is equally important.

Individuals do not become involved with substances solely on the basis of personal characteristics. They are influenced by a complex set of factors, such as institutional rules and regulations, community norms, mass media messages and the accessibility of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

When a multi-strategy effort is implemented, communities can contribute to achieving population-level change by focusing on multiple sectors to make a difference communitywide. Environmental strategies are effective in modifying the settings where a person lives, which plays a part in how that person behaves.

Prevention works when individuals, families, and community sectors come together to take action. Often, community problems/issues are too large and complex for any one agency, organization, or any one sector of the community. By mobilizing diverse sectors of the community to analyze data and implement strategies communities can foster effective programs, policies, and practices to create reductions in substance abuse.

Substance abuse is a complex, multifaceted problem that requires involvement from all sectors of our community—from parents to healthcare, schools, and businesses.  Join parents, youth, health professionals, business leaders, law enforcement and policymakers to protect our young people from these dangers and transform communities into healthier places to live, work and play. 


Community Sector Involvement – Education is Empowerment

Keep in mind that the community sectors of prevention resources that are included are just that—suggestions. Trust your instincts. Choose ideas you are comfortable with, and use your style in carrying out the approaches you find useful. As individuals/ families/community members we look to each other for guidance and support in making life decisions—including the decision on drugs and alcohol.


Substance Use/Abuse Prevention starts in the family.  Our children need us to engage in prevention education for it to work.

“When people start using at younger ages, the changes in brain structure and function are very, very pronounced,” he explained. “If we could only get kids to postpone their first drink or their first use of drugs, we could greatly diminish the prevalence of addiction in the U.S.”

  • Healthy Children, Powered by Pediatricians.  Drug Abuse Prevention starts with Parents, Drug abuse prevention starts with parents learning how to talk with their children about difficult topics. Then, the programs offered by your community (school, sports, and other groups) can support what you have started.
  • National Institute of Drug Abuse – NIH. Family Checkup – Families strive to find the best ways to raise their children to live happy, healthy, and productive lives.  Parents are often concerned about whether their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others, including the abuse of prescription drugs.
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA-NIH), make a difference and talk to your kids (booklet/guide) about alcohol.  The booklet/guide is geared to parents and guardians of young people ages 10 to 14.
  • The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Preventing Addiction Changes Everything.  One way that addiction and substance abuse can be prevented is through screening and early intervention. Prevention must begin during childhood and extend into later adolescence. Despite the benefits and availability of screening and early intervention tools, too few health professionals, school personnel, and social service providers routinely screen for tobacco/nicotine, alcohol, and other drug use.
  • Drugs over Dinner.  Change starts with an open conversation. Change almost always starts at the table.  Drugs Over Dinner is a toolkit to plan, host, and moderate a conversation about drugs and addiction.
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. 10 Prevention Tips for Parents
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH).  Research supported by NIDA has shown the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs.
    • Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood – A Research based guide.
  • Responsibility.org. Conversations about alcohol happen every day, and a key ingredient should be “responsibility.”   Since parents are the leading influence on their kids’ decision to drink or not to drink, these conversations must happen early and often, starting when your child is in elementary school, and continuing through middle school, high school, college, and beyond. Start a conversation.
    • Responsibility & Kids.
    • Responsibility & Teens.
    • Responsibility on Campus.
    • Drinking Responsibly & Adults – Virtual Bar, latest science to help you not only get a better understanding of how different factors affect your blood-alcohol concentration – or BAC – on an individual level, but also can help you see how your night could go depending on the food you eat, the water you drink throughout the night, and other important variables. It also helps give you a sense of how long it would take for your BAC to return to 0.00, which we think will surprise you.
  • Office of Adolescence Health (HHS), Parent and Family resources:
  • Prevention Action Alliance offers several programs that give parents, coalitions, colleges, and universities, and other community members the information, education, and support they need to make positive change.
    • Parents Who Host, Lose the Most: Don’t Be a Party to Teenage Drinking educates parents about the health and safety risks of providing alcohol to teenagers and increases awareness of and compliance with underage drinking laws.
    • Know! gives the parents and caregivers of middle school-age kids the education, strategies, and empowerment they need to raise children who are healthy as well as alcohol, tobacco, and drug-free.
  • Get Smart about Drugs, DEA resource for parents, educators, and caregivers and to increase the public’s awareness about the dangers associated with using drugs. There are three major concepts of drug use prevention research at the core of this strategy: brain developement, perceive drug use as harmful, delaying drug/alcohol use-substance use disorders are reduced.
    • Growing up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention. As a parent, you can control many of the risk and protective factors in your home. Remember that parents and caregivers are the most important role models in children’s lives.
    • Operation Prevention:  Parents can join the conversation with this family discussion starter. Additional information on the warning signs of prescription opioid misuse and a guide to prevention and intervention empower families to reach out.
    • Just Think Twice, provides credible information about the harmful effects of drug use
    • Get Smart About Drugs, provides valuable drug education information for parents, educators, and caregivers to further help identify drug use, drug paraphernalia, warning signs of drug use, and the harmful side effects of the most commonly abused drugs.
      • Campus Drug Prevention, effort to support drug abuse prevention programs on college campuses and in surrounding communities.
  • Ask, Listen, Learn, provides youth ages 9-14, their parents, and educators with information about the dangers of underage drinking.
  • SAMHSA, Underage Drinking Partners
    • Talk. They hear you!   Underage drinking prevention campaign helps parents and caregivers start talking to their children early about the dangers of alcohol.
    • Too Smart to Start, helps prevent underage alcohol use by offering strategies and materials for youth, teens, families, educators, community leaders, professionals, and volunteers.

Local, County, State Agencies, and Coalitions

Oregon Organizations involved in reducing and supporting Substance Use/Mental Health Disorders

  • Clear Alliance, Children Learning through Education and Research – provides educational tools that are cited and sourced with evidence and science-based research.
  • Oregon Recovers is an inclusive statewide coalition comprised of people in recovery–and their friends and family—uniting to transform Oregon healthcare to ensure world-class prevention, treatment, and recovery support services for Oregonians suffering from the disease of addiction. Within five years Oregon will be known as the “recovery state.”
  • OLCC  
  • State Law In Oregon:  Social Hosting, What does state law say?  Many well-intentioned parents think that letting their child drink in their home will in the long-run teach them how to drink responsibly and will prevent them from drinking elsewhere. Early consumption of alcohol in any context increases the likelihood of problems in the long-run.
  • Trauma-Informed Oregon is committed to supporting human service organizations and systems to recognize and respond to the impact of trauma on the workforce and on the children, youth, adults, and families they serve. The resources found on this page address a number of different aspects of the implementation of trauma-informed care aimed at improving the design of programs and services as well as the organizational context in which they are delivered.  Community Response and Resources.
  • Oregon Health Authority, Drug Take Back, and Disposal
  • NAMI, Oregonvolunteers bring peer-led programs to a wide variety of community settings, from churches to schools to NAMI Affiliates. With the unique understanding of people with lived experience, these programs and support groups provide outstanding free education, skills training, and support.
  • Alcohol & Drug Policy Commission is an independent state government agency that was created by the Oregon Legislature to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state and local alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment services.
  • Clackamas County
  • Oregon City Together is committed to building opportunities for a healthy and drug-free future.
  • Tualatin Together, Uniting the community to engage, educate and advocate for Tualatin’s youth and families to make healthy decisions.
  • Tigard Turns the Tides.  Using strategies such as youth and adult education, social norms marketing, advocacy, and increased law enforcement, the Coalition has successfully worked to significantly bring down alcohol use by Tigard Youth.
  • Lines for Life, Preventing Substance Abuse and Suicide
  • Cardinal Families Health Action Network (HAN) is an organization dedicated to bringing health awareness, tools and strategies to students and families. We promote healthy living and support families in making healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Keep Oregon Well (Powered by Mental Health Matters) is a public advocacy campaign and social movement designed to reduce the stigma surrounding mental and behavioral health, build a trauma-informed community, and give people the opportunity to learn more about mental health while standing with those who may be struggling with theirs.
  • Nat’l Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, is a resource for governors, state legislators, attorneys general, local prosecutors, drug and alcohol professionals, health professionals, community leaders, the recovering community and others striving for comprehensive and effective state drug and alcohol laws, policies, regulations, and programs.
  • Northwest Family Services, offers a wide range of programs and services in the Portland metropolitan area. School-based programs include case management, after-school and summer programs, groups, and a variety of services including alcohol and drug, suicide, gang, and child sex trafficking prevention.
    • Vibrant Futures Coalition, A prevention coalition committed to serving the North Clackamas area. Our focus is on utilizing resources in order to educate the community, prevent access and to reduce underage drinking, marijuana use and prescription drug abuse among our youth.
  • Oregon Impact provides educational experiences to end impaired and distracted driving.  With an emphasis on teen drivers and those that ride with them, Oregon Impact works with middle schools, high schools & colleges in Oregon and SW Washington, and attends multiple community events each year to open conversations and encourage good choices.
  • Stay True to You.  BEING A TEENAGER IS HARD. 14, 16, 18. Every year, it feels like there’s more coming at us. More choices. Bigger consequences. Parents. Teachers. Friends. When everyone has an opinion, it can be hard to hear myself think.

Civic and Volunteer Groups - Community, State and Public Health Support and Safety

What groups in your community are focused on drug/alcohol prevention.  Let’s connect-the-dots.  There are also examples of how other states, county, and cities are supporting or combating SUD.

  • Knowing which civic and volunteer groups are in your community is very important.  They are enormous help and support to grass root efforts, below are just a few:
  • Prescription Drug Abuse Policy System (PDAPS)Oregon.  Unintentional drug overdose is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Administering naloxone hydrochloride (“naloxone”) can reverse an opioid overdose and prevent these unintentional deaths.  State-specific naloxone related legislation which is a NIDA resource that also has maps and data on Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and Good Samaritan 911 Laws.
  • City of West Linn Youth Advisory Council.  The mission of the YAC is to engage a representative group of West Linn youth to effectively serve the City through community-oriented discussions and projects aimed at providing recognition and understanding for the issues that affect both them and their peers in West Linn.
  • Findhelpnowky.org acts as a search engine for people seeking a treatment facility for themselves or family members. People can find facilities based on location, facility type and type of treatment needed. The search results also identify which facilities have openings for patients.

National Substance Use/Mental Health Organizations

Business Community

Alcohol and drug use among employees and their family members can be an expensive problem for business and industry – let’s be part of the solution.

Healthcare Systems - Support and Resources

Legal Systems and First Responders - Support and Resources

Support, Training, and Resources

Educational/School Systems

Resources, Support, school systems and other state examples of prevention

Collegiate Support
  • Aware Awake Alive is a program that widens the campus lens on educating, responding and save lives. Student Affairs has partnered with Aware Awake Alive to help our campus create a stronger community that takes care of one another and does the right thing, regardless of fear and peer pressure.

Media (Articles, Blogs, Journals, Magazines)




  • Above the Influence, Stay Orginal Be Yourself.
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) Children and Teens, get your questions answered.
  • National Institute for Drug Abuse Teens (NIDA for Teens).  Get the latest on how drugs affect the brain and body. Featuring videos, games, blog posts and more. Brain and Addiction, the more you know the more you’ll grow.
  • National Association for Children of Addiction.  Have questions?  Get answers.  Just for kids.
  • The Coolspot, The young persons place for information on drugs and alcohol.
  • Wait 21, Actions Speak Louder.
  • Girls, Inc. of the Pacific Northwest inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold. We make an impact in the communities we serve by equipping girls with the skills and confidence to access a bright and economically-independent future. 
  • The Herren Project.  The mission of The Herren Project is to provide assistance in taking the first steps toward recovery and a life of sobriety, educational programs, and resources to increase awareness on the signs of addiction and bring hope for a better tomorrow.
    • Project Purple initiative was launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse and encourage positive decision making to navigate life’s challenges.
  • Prevention Source e-journal, Peers-leading-peers in substance use prevention
  • Northwest Family Services.  Empowering Youth. 
  • Rise Together is creating a movement of young people by encouraging students to stand up and speak out on the issues they care most about; breaking the silence around suicide, bullying, mental illness, drugs & alcohol.
  • Ten tips for Prevention for youth.
  • Teen Health, have questions get answers.  Whole body health.
  • Drugs and Health Blog for Teens. 
  • Crave 21.  As a youth, YOUR choice to abstain from drugs and wait until 21 before considering alcohol can help reduce your risk for addiction by up to 90%. Join us as we campaign to educate and empower our future generations to live free from addiction. The choices and habits we make in our youth heavily influence who we become later in life.  Some of the best athletes, entrepreneurs, and leaders attribute much of their success to the choices and habits they developed at an early age.

Faith Community

Resources and support for the Faith Community.  Learn how to implement programs, find resources, and support your community.