Framework in Action
Community Collaborates for Policy Change to Reduce Substance Abuse Among Students

A southern town was concerned about the number of arrests for underage drinking and disturbances among high school students. Police did not find it effective to fine first-time offenders or involve repeat offenders in the juvenile justice system, and brought the issue to the core management team.

The core management team, including the community mental health/treatment staff and the school health educators, offered an alternative policy involving school and police collaboration. Rather than arresting a student, the police worked with the school to create a student assistance team that included the law enforcement, students, parents, substance abuse treatment experts, and school mental health staff to better understand the student’s problem. 

If students had extensive substance abuse problems, they were referred to an appropriate treatment program. The student health center also began 12-step groups for students, parents, and friends of students for first-time offenders. Law enforcement and school collaboration helped create policy change around substance abuse and provide positive treatment and prevention for students.     

Strategic Approach: