Substance Abuse

Substance use, abuse and addiction are among the leading causes of adolescent death in the United States (Brannigan, Schackman, Falco, & Millman, 2004: Sussman, Dent, & Galaif, 1997).


Substance use, abuse and addiction are among the leading causes of adolescent death in the United States (Brannigan, Schackman, Falco, & Millman, 2004: Sussman, Dent, & Galaif, 1997). School counselors are typically part of the prevention program by presenting guidance curriculum lessons about character development and peer pressure. School counselors are also positioned to offer additional prevention services for students who are at risk.


  • School counselors are situated to provide intentional support to students who are at risk. These students need specified support. School counselors can provide this in the following ways:
    1. Discussing the availability of therapy, jobs, education, recreation, and transportation in the student’s community. (Sussman et al., 2008)
    2. Serving as liaisons for students who have social concerns. They can facilitate assessments for learning disabilities, health concerns, psychological concerns and family functioning. (ASCA, 2005: Sussman et al., 2008)
    3. Involving parents – parents are vital to students’ success. Counselors can work with parents on prevention plans, parent trainings, and parent involvement at the building level. (Mclaughlin & Vacha, 1993)
    4. Creating a climate of trust to assist these students with enhancing protective factors. (Mclaughlin & Vacha, 1993)
    5. Providing accountability factors. This is necessary to validate progress and document student’s substance use and misuse. (ASCA, 2005: Comerci & Schwebel, 2000: Sussman et al., 2008)
    6. Incorporating shaping, modeling, role playing, assertiveness training and other behavioral and cognitive approaches in their counseling sessions with students. (Mclaughlin & Vacha, 1993: Meichenbaum, 1997: Weinberg et al, 1998)
    7. Encouraging students to get involved with pro-social activities at school or in the community. (Pate, Trost, Levin, & Dowda, 2000)


  • (Added 10/09/23): IYI – Marshall County Youth Worker Cafe “Adolescent Substance Use 101” with Heather Thompson.
  • (IDOE Update, September 15, 2023): Emerging Drug Threat in Indiana – IDOH has issued an alert about an emerging drug called bromazolam. Bromazolam is a novel or designer benzodiazepine and is being found on the street under other names. According to the World Health Organization, bromazolam is sold as tablets, powders and gummies, and is frequently mixed with opioids. Signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose may include troubled breathing; small pupils; unconsciousness or unresponsiveness; snoring, choking, or gurgling; cold or clammy skin; pale or blue skin; and discolored lips or fingernails. If an overdose is suspected, call 911 and administer naloxone right away, if available. More information can be found here. If your school(s) do not yet have access to naloxone and you are interested in obtaining naloxone training for emergency administration, please email
  • Indiana Hope Academy: Hope Academy Recovery High School is located in the Castleton area of Indianapolis (I-69 and 82nd), and serves students who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, or for whom drugs have negatively impacted their lives. There are always openings and there is no tuition; expelled students are accepted. They have licensed/highly qualified teachers in all core subjects plus Art and Music, and students participate in a daily recovery curriculum.
    For more info, contact Katherine Barsten (, or Rossi Preissler, administrative assistant, to schedule a student interview: 317.572.9440.
  • Substance Use (PowerPoint presentation) (IUPUI counseling course, Fall semester, 2018)
  • Operation Prevention (from US DEA) – a digital curriculum tools to combat opioid misuse
  • Building Resilience Through Understanding Substance Use Disorders and Their Impacts on Others



If you have suggestions, feedback, or resources, please email and let us know.