Youth Prevention Programs

Youth prevention (YP) programs empower young people to meet life’s challenges and transition into adulthood by partnering with their families and communities to promote healthy environments and behaviors.

YP programs use an evidence-based approach endorsed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These programs are delivered before the onset of a substance use disorder and are intended to prevent or reduce the risk of developing a health problem.

How Do YP Programs Work?

YP programs deliver services to the following priority populations and their families:

  • YP universal is offered to young people in general. This program is designed to serve all youth. There are no special requirements.
  • YP selective is offered to young people who may be at higher than average risk for substance use.
  • YP indicated is offered to young people who are experiencing early signs of substance use and other related problem behaviors that have not reached the point of needing substance use treatment.

Young people and their families participate in YP activities in schools and community sites. Activities are conducted by trained professionals such as prevention specialists, associate prevention specialists, certified prevention specialists, or advanced certified prevention specialists.

What Are the Benefits of YP Programs?

YP activities lead to a wide variety of positive outcomes, including:

  • Reduced substance use risk factors through increased or strengthened protective factors:
    • Improved self-esteem
    • Increased academic achievement
    • Strengthened social skills
    • Improved family relationships
    • Increased feelings of belonging and connectedness
    • Increased access to support services
  • Enhanced cultural identity and pride
  • Decreased instances of substance use and misuse
  • Decreased risk for health issues related to substance use and unhealthy habits
  • Reduced likelihood of legal issues
  • Reduced risk for behavioral health issues
  • Reduced costs to society associated with health care, law enforcement and assistance programs
  • Enhanced sense of well-being
  • Improved quality of life

Who Is Eligible for YP Programs?

  • Youth in grades Pre K-12
  • Families of youth participating in YP programs

How Do I Get YP Programs?

Locate providers offering YP program services in your area, and get their contact information through this map.