Supporting Schools: Strategies for Discussing Substance Use with Students

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This training is intended to increase school adjustment counselors, social workers, nurses, guidance counselors, and other school based personnel’s skill in initiating developmentally appropriate conversations with students presenting with substance use related issues. Building on principles of the Adolescent Community Reinforcement Approach (A-CRA) the training will teach concrete skills for engaging students in a conversation about substance use and strategies for navigating student ambivalence about their substance use.

A-CRA is a developmentally appropriate treatment model for youth and young adults (12-24 years old) with substance misuse or substance use disorders.  A-CRA is an evidence based practice developed by Chestnut Health Systems. The brief treatment model has been adapted to focus on four key A-CRA procedures to support school staff intervening around a student’s substance use, possession, or other behaviors in a school setting; or recognizing if a referral for further consultation or treatment is appropriate. The training will review and demonstrate the A-CRA Functional Analysis of Substance Using Behavior, Increasing Pro-social Recreation, Drink/Drug Refusal Skills, and Sobriety Sampling. Participants will have an opportunity to role play these procedures in small groups using student case vignettes.


  • Apply techniques to engage youth in conversation about substance use and address ambivalence,
  • Observe role plays of A-CRA Functional Analysis of Substance Using Behavior, Increasing Pro-social Recreation, Drink/Drug Refusal Skills, and Sobriety Sampling procedures
  • Demonstrate use of A-CRA Functional Analysis of Substance Using Behavior, Increasing Pro-social Recreation, Drink/Drug Refusal Skills, and Sobriety Sampling procedures
  • List steps to making a referral to A-CRA Treatment.

MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, Office of Youth & Young Adult Services & AdCare Educational Institute, Inc.

Vannasang Souksavath, LICSW and Lea Forster, LMHC
Event Date: 
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 8:30am to 2:30pm
Attendance Mode: 
In Person
Evidence-Based Practice
Youth and Young Adults
Double Tree by Hilton Boston- Westborough
5400 Computer Drive
Westborough, MA 01581
$25 if CEUs are desired
Contact Information
Gina Colon
AdCare Educational Institute
Training Coordinator

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