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Opioid Misuse Prevention

Act 55 of 2017

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, public school students in grades six through twelve are required to receive instruction related to the prevention of opioid abuse.

Substance Use Prevention Programs

There are a variety of substance use prevention programs that can be implemented in schools. Examples of evidence based/informed prevention programs include:

There are multiple program registries/clearinghouses that can be used to identify other prevention programs that may be better suited to each school’s needs. Results First Clearinghouse pulls information from several of these registries.

Help for Selecting and Implementing Prevention Programs

Community Partners

Local county drug and alcohol offices (also referred to as a Single County Authority), can help schools identify their needs, select prevention programs, and implement prevention programs. Schools are strongly encouraged to reach out to their local county drug and alcohol office for guidance or assistance with identifying prevention programs to implement. Many counties or school districts have coalitions, such as Communities That Care, that also support schools in planning and implementing prevention programs.

PA Youth Survey (PAYS)

School district data from the PA Youth Survey (PAYS) is an important resource for identifying student needs and the factors influencing student substance use. This information can be used to help guide selection of prevention programs. The PAYS How-to Guide is a tool to help in analyzing PAYS data. Local county drug and alcohol offices and coalitions may also be able to assist in analyzing PAYS data.

Training Resources

A video series was created in accordance with Act 55 of 2017 that required the development and provision of a professional development program that includes information necessary to prepare for the teaching of this yearly mandated instruction, and ensured that education professionals who complete the professional development program may apply this training to their continuing education requirements. The video series, School-Based Primary Prevention: A Key to Combating the Opioid Epidemic can be accessed on the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Program's website. This video series is also available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education Standard Aligned Systems (SAS) in order to receive Act 48 credits. 

Additional Prescription Drug and Opioid Related Resources

Resources Specific to Pennsylvania

Additional Resources

Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program

Act 55 of 2017 Section 1402-A Section 1402-A. establishes a Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program. Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education, in consultation with Pennsylvania’s Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, designated a facility that satisfies all of the following to serve as the recovery high school for purposes of the program:

(i) Is licensed as a private academic school under the act of January 28, 1988 (P.L.24, No.11), known as the Private Academic Schools Act.
(ii) Is located in a school district of the first class.
(iii) [Has experience providing drug and alcohol recovery services] Is currently operating as a recovery high school.
(iv) Has adopted and follows accreditation standards and best practices set forth by the Association of Recovery Schools.
(v) Has been a member of the Association of Recovery Schools during the 2016-2017 school year.

The Bridge Way School (7360 Jackson Street, Philadelphia, PA 19136) has been determined to meet the eligibility requirements delineated in Act 55 of 2017 (Act 55) and therefore is designated as the recovery high school facility for the purposes of the Drug and Alcohol Recovery High School Pilot Program.

Learn more about enrolling a student in this recovery high school.