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Elevate Substance Abuse Prevention on your Faith Agenda

Whether you hold a local or national position within your religious organization, you can provide the context and resources to empower parents, youth workers and other adults to engage in drug prevention activities. Here are four ways to strengthen your commitment to substance abuse prevention.

There are numerous ways to make substance abuse prevention a priority in your faith community.

  • Renew or establish a strong position statement and policies against illicit drug use - as well as underage alcohol and tobacco use. The position statement should acknowledge the risks - physical, social, legal, mental, financial and spiritual - associated with use.
  • Take a public stand against drugs and make your position about drug prevention known! Announce it at local, state, regional and/or national meetings. Include it in your vision and expectation statements, new member classes, newsletters, bulletins and any other communication with members.
  • Partner with community-based, private and nonprofit organizations that have substance abuse prevention programs. Organizations such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America can help you to identify resources, training and grant awards that augment programs already extended to fellow faith leaders.
  • Collaborate with local seminaries, divinity schools and other religious institutions. Encourage them to include youth substance abuse prevention training and counseling into their curriculum. Consider teaming up with these institutions to identify opportunities for their students to work with your youth programs to do drug prevention counseling, presentations and workshops

Ideas: Place Substance Abuse Prevention Messages in the Context of your Faith Community's Beliefs

Adults and youth want answers to their tough questions about drug use. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign can provide the facts, but only you can provide the religious context in which other leaders - and ultimately youth workers and parents - can help teens realize the benefits of living healthy and drug-free lives.

  • Incorporate substance abuse prevention messages into your sermon series, homilies, newsletters, media ministries, religious education and parenting classes, retreats, camps and other youth and parent events. Include articles, parenting tips or quizzes related to substance abuse prevention in your faith community's parenting publications and resources. Download a parenting/drug prevention article to place in your church or community publications.
  • Launch a local campaign to promote your faith community's commitment to substance abuse prevention. Develop your own themes and messages that clearly portray the spiritual benefits of being drug-free. Consider the themes provided by the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which are based on research proven effective in changing behavior.
  • Develop or customize educational material (such as study guides, curricula, training programs and modules) that puts substance abuse prevention information in the context of your religious beliefs.
  • Select a day, a week or a month to celebrate your faith community's commitment to substance abuse prevention. For example, designate the month of October as "Faith is Prevention Month." Use this Web site to organize activities and events to help youth avoid the lure of substance abuse and adults to become more confident parents and mentors.

 National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Key Messages


"Most kids don't use drugs"

"Using drugs is likely to lead to negative consequences."

"A drug-free lifestyle is likely to lead to positive outcomes."

"Spend time in healthy and positive activities."


Resources:Inter-Faith Support for Substance Abuse Programs

A large number of national religious organizations and denominations have excellent resources for youth development and substance abuse prevention. It is not possible for us to list all of them here. We urge you to contact the national office of your denomination for more information.

One Church - One Addict, Inc. (OCOA)
OCOA enrolls and equips faith communities to prevent recovering addicts from relapsing into substance abuse. "Faith communities" is inclusive of churches, temples, synagogues and mosques. OCOA focuses on reducing addiction by providing a faith communities support network to help recovering addicts remain drug free. OCOA offers volunteer training and sponsors statewide and national gatherings of volunteers, clergy, facilitators and clinicians who work with addicts. OCOA also sponsors "recovery revivals" and publishes training materials and a newsletter.

Faith Partners
Faith Partners is a national nonprofit organization that brings together religious leaders representing various faith traditions to work jointly to prevent alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use among the people they serve. Faith Partners has developed a variety of resources that are available to congregations interested in starting their own substance abuse programs.
Phone: (888) 451-9527

Search Institute
Search Institute is an independent, nonprofit, nonsectarian organization whose mission is to advance the well-being of adolescents and children by generating knowledge and promoting its application. To accomplish this mission, the Institute generates, synthesizes and communicates new knowledge, convenes organizational and community leaders and works with state and national organizations. The site provides many resources for faith leaders including publications, research and information on training and conferences.

General Prevention/Drug Information

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
With bipartisan Congressional support, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) created the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, a multi-dimensional effort designed to educate and empower youth to reject illicit drugs. The Web site contains a comprehensive overview of all aspects of the Campaign. It provides information about the Campaign's drug prevention programs, activities and strategies. Other information and resources include Campaign press releases, fact sheets and quarterly newsletters. The Ad Gallery includes advertising samples to download from print, radio, television and the Web that promote the prevention messages of the Campaign.

The is a Web-based component of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, providing parents and other adult caregivers with strategies and tips on raising healthy, drug-free children. This award-winning site encourages parents to help their children with these issues by offering information from behavioral experts as well as other parents. It offers suggestions on how to address sensitive subjects such as a parent's personal history with drugs. You can also register for a free parenting tips e-mail service at this site. Information from is available in Spanish at and in various Asian languages (Korean, Cambodian, Chinese and Vietnamese) through the homepage.
A component of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, this Web site helps young people understand the dangers of substance abuse and make responsible decisions with their lives. The site features moderated bulletin boards, role-playing games, media literacy tools, pop culture news and facts about today's drugs. The site also engages visitors to submit their own "anti-drugs." The Campaign maintains Freevibe in collaboration with the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.

National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)
NCADI provides a wealth of free, valuable information and resource material that parents and others can share with young people about substance abuse. The Clearinghouse offers research data and statistics and an online catalog of resources and highlights prevention-related conferences, events and initiatives. NCADI's information line is staffed by information specialists 24 hours a day. NCADI is a service of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
P.O. Box 2345
Rockville, MD 20847-2345
Phone: (800) 788-2800 TDD: (800) 487-4889
Se Habla Español (877) SIN-DROGAS

Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Faith-Based and Community Programs
CSAP is part of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)
CADCA is the premier membership organization of more than 5,000 anti-drug coalitions, each working to make its community safe, healthy and drug-free-one community at a time. The organization supports its members with technical assistance and training, public policy, media strategies and marketing programs, conferences and special events. The Web site includes a calendar of nationwide prevention events, public policy alerts, resources for community action and other information.
Phone: (800) 54-CADCA

Center for Media Literacy (CML)
The Center for Media Literacy promotes media education, produces media literacy teaching tools for educators and parents and maintains Web site featuring interesting and timely topics about media literacy. Media literacy teaches youth how to think critically about media messages and decode inaccurate, misleading or harmful messages. Books and videos are available for purchase through CML's printed and online catalogs.

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)
NACoA is a national nonprofit membership organization working on behalf of children of alcohol- and drug-dependent parents. NACoA advocates for all children and families affected by these dependencies. The Web site provides information on the research, educational materials, posters, brochures and other pieces available to the community. Phone: (888) 55-4COAS

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