The Weston Project to Reduce Alcohol Abuse
Funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe & Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS) Grants to Reduce Alcohol Abuse (GRAA)
The Weston Public Schools has received a 3-year grant to address underage use and abuse of alcohol. The program, People of Weston Allied for Health (POWAH) includes the implementation of a combination of primary prevention/early interventions, targeted intensive interventions, and a community-wide intervention that will build capacity and sustainability. POWAH draws upon the latest prevention research and technology, utilizing five Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA) model programs, as well as several experimental programs currently under SAMHSA review, and some local initiatives. By creating a community-wide web of support for students, parents, families and the community, Weston will achieve real results in the reduction of underage alcohol abuse within our community.
The POWAH program will implement the following eight strategies to reduce alcohol use and abuse:
ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) is a school-based prevention program for male high school athletes to deter substance use and promote healthy nutrition and exercise as alternatives to use. The curriculum consists of ten 45-minute interactive classroom sessions and three exercise training sessions facilitated by peer educators, coaches, and strength trainers.
ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives) is the companion program to ATLAS for female high school athletes. It is a school-based prevention program designed for female high school athletes to deter substance use and promote healthy nutrition and exercise as alternatives to use. The curriculum consists of eight 45-minute interactive classroom sessions and three exercise training sessions facilitated by peer educators, coaches, and strength trainers.
CMCA (Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol) is a community-organizing program designed to reduce teens’ access to alcohol by changing community policies and practices. CMCA seeks both to limit youths’ access to alcohol and to communicate a clear message to the community that underage drinking is inappropriate and unacceptable. The program involves community members in seeking and achieving changes in local public policies and the practices of community institutions that can affect youths’ access to alcohol.
Project SUCCESS consists of: (1) an eight-session ATOD program; (2) school-wide activities and promotional materials to change social norms about substance abuse; (3) a parent program that includes informational meetings, parent education, and a parent advisory committee; and, (4) individual and group counseling, in which the Project SUCCESS Counselor conducts time-limited counseling for youth and individual assessment. Students who require more intensive counseling or treatment are referred to community agencies or practitioners.
STARS for Families (Start Taking Alcohol Risks Seriously): The program has 3 components: (1) direct face-to-face educational/motivational interview with the school nurse at the time of athletic department physical/health form review; (2) ten “Key Facts” postcards mailed home to parents; (3) four take-home lessons for the students and parents to complete together.
ACTUALITY is a comprehensive social norms project, utilizing the latest research on social norms marketing. This program will include the development and implementation of a strategic plan for a community-wide social marketing campaign including data collection, assessment, development, and implementation.
AlcoholEdu is an online alcohol education prevention and intervention. Students complete three 30-minute online lessons, which explore issues related to alcohol, including the effect of alcohol on the body, legal issues, blood alcohol content (BAC), refusal skills, and safety skills. The online lessons, which are completed at home, are followed up with classroom discussions. Parents also have online access to the program.
e-CHUG (electronic-Check-Up to Go for High School Age Youth) is an evidence-based, online alcohol intervention and personalized feedback tool for high school youth. The program is designed to motivate students to assess their alcohol consumption using information about their own drinking and risk factors. The college version of e-CHUG is recognized by NASPA (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators) as a “true evidence-based approach that is showing significant promise.”
Grade 9 Student and Parent Communication Forum & Follow-Up: This program will be based on the highly successful 6th grade Parent and Student Communication Forum that has been conducted in Weston for over ten years. It will consist of a one-day forum including workshops, information sessions, presentations and student-parent discussion on issues that parents and students will face during the high school years. Community members, both parents and older students, will lead many of the workshops. This will be followed up by a series of mailings to parents to facilitate family communication.
Staff Contact Information:
Mitch Finnegan, Director 781-529-8030 x7587
Elizabeth Pratt, Project Coordinator 781-529-1413
Kevin Wehmhoefer, Weston High Health & Wellness Counselor 781-529-8030 x7256
Katie DeFoe, Project Assistant 781-529-1413