UW News

May 19, 2000

UW program wins national substance abuse prevention award

Reconnecting Youth, a substance abuse prevention program from the University of Washington School of Nursing, was one of two Washington programs that won an Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Program Award for 1999, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) announced this week.

Reconnecting Youth, a school-based curriculum, was developed in the greater Seattle area and has spread to sites in Texas and other states. It was honored as a model prevention program for high school students who are at high risk for dropping out of school. Model programs are those which are started under scientifically rigorous conditions, and must demonstrate consistently positive results.

Reconnecting Youth seeks to improve school performance and mood management, and to reduce involvement with drugs. Evaluation studies have shown that Reconnecting Youth students improve school attendance and performance, school bonding and self-control, and reduce substance abuse and suicidal behaviors.

The program developer, Dr. Leona Eggert, Spence Endowed Professor in the UW School of Nursing’s Department of Psychosocial and Community Health, accepted the award Tuesday at a formal ceremony held in the U.S. Senate chambers.

The other Washington winner was the Tulalip Mentoring Program, a collaborative effort between the Marysville School District in Marysville and the Tulalip Tribes. The purpose of this program is to provide a caring, supportive, substance-free, one-to-one mentoring relationship for each student in the school.

Presented annually since 1989, the exemplary awards recognize prevention programs that excel in applying effective prevention strategies to meet the diverse needs of youth, parents, families and communities. The Washington programs are among 31 substance abuse prevention programs in 26 states to receive the 1999 Exemplary Award.

“These award-winning substance abuse prevention programs are examples of what thousands of other communities can and must do if we, as a nation, are to further reduce levels of substance abuse, especially among young people,” SAMHSA Administrator Dr. Nelba Chavez said. “These programs are showing us the way in our efforts to develop more effective and meaningful substance abuse prevention programs that identify and address community, family, school and mental health problems before they lead to substance abuse and other destructive behaviors.”

CSAP is a component of SAMHSA. SAMHSA, a public health agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the lead federal agency for improving the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, addiction treatment and mental health services in the United States.