CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Human Resources’ Bureau for Behavioral Health (BBH) and the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration (WVABCA) are partnering to help students succeed this back-to-school season with prevention programming and messages about alcohol and substance use.
BBH leads a statewide substance use prevention network that works with schools and communities to implement effective prevention strategies with funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Evidence-based programs (EBPs) build students’ resilience and encourage healthy alternatives to underage drinking and substance use, including Too Good for Drugs, Keep a Clear Mind, Botvin LifeSkills, and Positive Action. More than 90 schools also receive tiered support through BBH-funded Expanded School Mental Health grants or West Virginia Department of Education SAMHSA-funded Project AWARE grants.
“BBH aims to build protective factors like positive role models and a safe culture so that it is easier for all students to make good choices,” said Dawn Frohna, BBH Commissioner. “We appreciate our partners including WVABCA that have joined us in our mission to help students thrive in their homes, schools, and communities.”
WVABCA’s Fall Safety Plan for Students starts in September with the 11th annual NO School Spirits PSA contest. WVABCA will also be traveling the state visiting high schools to deliver its premier DUI Simulator Program. For more information, visit https://abca.wv.gov/ or WVABCA’s Facebook page.
“With initiatives such as our PSA contest, students take part in prevention messaging to address the harms that can result from underage alcohol use,” said WVABCA Commissioner Fred Wooton. “WVABCA is committed to working with DHHR’s Bureau for Behavioral Health, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, and other groups to deliver programs and services to protect our youth as a new school year gets underway.”
WVABCA will also hold its 3rd annual Alcohol Prevention, Enforcement, Education and Policy conference October 11-12, 2023, at Canaan Valley Resort on alcohol and substance use topics for law enforcement, educators, community health specialists, prevention coordinators, and other stakeholders. Held in conjunction with Community Connections, Inc., and with funding from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, the multidisciplinary conference includes a prevention track facilitated by BBH staff, as well as law enforcement and media communication tracks.
Anyone interested in implementing effective prevention programming may find West Virginia’s substance use prevention contacts and guidance at https://helpandhopewv.org/prevention-works.html. A new BBH Clearinghouse also provides a database of prevention, treatment, and recovery EBPs researched by state experts.
BBH funds several helplines through SAMHSA funding, operated by First Choice Services, to assist West Virginians in need of behavioral health support. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline and 844-HELP4WV (844-435-7498), which includes the Children’s Crisis and Referral Line, are available 24/7 with call, chat, and text options.
In addition to state resources, SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.”® campaign helps parents and caregivers, educators, and community members get informed, be prepared, and take action to prevent underage drinking and other substance use.
For additional information and substance use resources for children and adults, visit dhhr.wv.gov/bbh. To view and apply for careers in the behavioral health field, visit dhhr.wv.gov/Pages/Career-Opportunities.aspx.