Prevention Efforts

Prevention efforts strive to reduce individual, family, and environmental risk factors, increase resiliency and protective factors, and achieve individual and community wellness through a collaborative approach. These efforts are proactive, evidence-based, and outcomes are measurable.

Community Prevention Programs & Initiatives

Alcohol, Tobacco, & Other Drugs:

  • Counter Tools / Merchant Education is an environmental strategy designed to educate tobacco retailers about the law and the harmful effects of selling tobacco products to underage youth. At least every two years, prevention specialists and/or coalition members visit 100% of tobacco retailers in the NRV. During the visit, a store audit is completed, which verifies the store’s location and provides information about tobacco products, pricing, placement, and promotions. Materials, such as “We Card” signs are provided at no cost to the retailer, as is education about the consequences of underage sales. Retailers are asked to sign a pledge stating they will check the ID of anyone appearing to be under the age of 27 who is purchasing tobacco. Counter Tools / Merchant Education is a public health approach for prevention, not enforcement; however, retailers who are found to be in violation during compliance checks by law enforcement are referred for annual merchant education visits.

Opioid & Heroin Prevention:

  •  REVIVE! is the Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education (OONE) program for the Commonwealth of Virginia. REVIVE! provides training to professionals, stakeholders, and others on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone (Narcan®). REVIVE! is a collaborative effort led by the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) working alongside the Virginia Department of Health, the Virginia Department of Health Professionals, recovery community organizations such as the McShin Foundation, OneCare of Southwest Virginia, the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia (SAARA), and other stakeholders.

  • “The Face of Addiction is Mine” is a public awareness campaign focused on the dangers of prescription drug misuse and heroin overdose.

Facebook: @TheFaceofAddictionisMine

Twitter: @FaceAddiction

Instagram: @TheFaceofAddictionisMine

Suicide Prevention & Mental Health:

  • Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is a two-day interactive workshop in suicide first aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. Although ASIST is widely used by healthcare providers, participants don’t need any formal training to attend the workshop—anyone 16 or older can learn and use the ASIST model.

        For more information about ASIST, visit:

  •  Lock & Talk Virginia is an evidence-based suicide prevention initiative that involves limiting access to lethal means for a person in crisis and talking about the problem of suicide to help save lives and reduce stigma. Promoting safe and responsible care of lethal means while encouraging community conversations around mental wellness are vital to Lock and Talk’s mission of preventing suicides and promoting wellness.

For more information about Lock and Talk, visit:

  • Mental Health First Aid is a course for anyone 18 years and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions.

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or is in crisis. It is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

  • SafeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone 15 or older, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources, such as caregivers trained in ASIST.

  • #AskingSaves is a suicide awareness & prevention campaign centered around educating people on ways to approach loved ones who they are concerned about. This campaign aims to dispel the myth that asking someone if they are considering ending their life might “give them the idea”.

For more information on #AskingSaves, visit: 

  • The New River Valley Suicide Prevention Collaborative consists of members from the community who are dedicated to suicide prevention efforts and partner together to provide suicide education, awareness, and resources to the NRV. Meetings are held quarterly at the Christiansburg Presbyterian Church. Anyone who is passionate about making the NRV a suicide-safer community are welcome to attend. Please contact Hannah Rodriguez at to be added to the listserv.

ACEs Education helps raise awareness on how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impact health and social-emotional wellbeing throughout the lifespan.  ACEs, including traumatic events and experiences that occur early in life, can interfere with healthy brain development and can negatively affect a person’s ability to lead a healthy, successful lifestyle and engage in positive relationships with others.

ACEs are often passed from one generation to the next.  Raising awareness of the effects of ACEs can help break the cycle of transgenerational trauma by developing assets that provide resilience to individuals and families.

For more information on ACEs and Resilience, visit:

Parenting Programs:

  • Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action is identified as an effective program on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Effective Prevention Programs. Parents and youth (ages 12-16) meet separately for approximately two hours, and then together as a group for one-half hour to practice learned skills. Parent sessions include viewing and discussing videos (which portray negative and positive interactions with youth), participating in skill-building activities (such as setting limits and encouraging good behavior), and provision of group support. Youth sessions consist of game-like learning activities, discussions, and skill-building activities on topics such as communication, assertiveness and drug resistance skills, setting goals, dealing with stress, handling peer pressure, and following rules. Family sessions follow the individual sessions and include parent-youth discussions, games, projects, skill-building practice, and role plays.

  • Active Parenting 4th Edition (AP4) is a six session, 2-hour program held once a week for six weeks. The program is designed for parents with children ages 5-12. AP4 helps families increase their communication skills, prevent problem behaviors and improve relationships with their children. Parents will learn non-violent discipline techniques, plus effective communication and encouragement skills to help build a solid foundation for the upcoming teen years.  AP4 also includes interactive youth lessons which coincides with the topics covered in the parent session. Active Parenting is a combination of video and discussion on common parenting challenges and solutions.  Active Parenting also incorporates information about how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) referred to as trauma, affect brain development and behaviors-which can often have lifelong impact.

     Dinner, as well as, childcare is provided for participating families. Parents also have an opportunity to receive incentives for participation and attendance.  For more information or to register please email or call 540-250-1814.


School-Based Prevention Programs

Through the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth we are able to provide several classroom-based, substance abuse prevention programs including:

Project Alert – a substance abuse prevention program that’s proven to reduce the experimental and continued use of drugs. Through a series of comprehensive lessons, Project ALERT motivates students against drug use, cultivates new non-use attitudes and beliefs, and equips students with skills and strategies they’ll use to resist drugs.

For more information and resources, visit:

Too Good for Drugs (TGFD) – a substance abuse prevention program, implemented in middle school classroom settings.  This program teaches students about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drug abuse on their developing body and brain.  Students explore how goals, peers, media, and family influence their decisions and apply problem-solving skills to identify healthy alternatives to drugs.

For more information and resources visit:

IN THE NEWS: Giles County School teaches students about drug prevention

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) is a long-term, system-wide program for change involving program components at four levels:  school-level components, individual level components, classroom level components, community level components.