I know how important it is for me to be involved in helping my teen resist alcohol and other drugs. How can I tell if my son’s school is involved in prevention efforts?

Schools play an important role in the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among students. Here are some questions you can ask your son’s school. These questions were put together by the National Center of Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

From the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA, 2002)

Parent Power: Ten Questions Every Parent Should Ask Their Child’s School

1.What does the school do to keep tobacco, alcohol and other drugs off school premises?

2. What education and prevention programs are offered children in what grades- is it enough to make a difference?

3. Are teachers and other staff trained to spot signs of drug abuse and know how to respond?

4. Are teachers and other staff aware of circumstances that place children at higher risk of substance abuse, such as learning disabilities, discipline problems, eating disorders, depression and anxiety, and frequent mobility from school to school? If so, does the school intervene early?

5. What does the school do if it suspects a child may be smoking, drinking, or using other drugs? Does the school tell the child’s parents?

6. Does the school screen or test for substance use? If so, under what circumstances?

7. If a substance abuse problem is identified in a child, what help does the school provide- either directly or by referral?

8. What action does the school take if a child is caught possessing or using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs- or selling drugs?

9. Does the school engage parents, students and community organizations in substance abuse prevention?

10. What are the substance use policies for teachers and other school staff?