CDC Foundation Launches New Video to Promote Strategies to Prevent Substance Misuse

Adolescence is a critical high-risk period for the initiation of substance use. According to studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), research has shown that teens with substance use disorders experience higher rates of physical and mental illnesses, and diminished overall health and well-being. 

The Teens Linked to Care (TLC) program, which began in 2016, is a three-year project focused on integrating prevention strategies to address both substance use and sexual risk among youth in high-risk rural communities. In a new video released today [this video is no longer available], the CDC Foundation highlights the successes of the TLC program through its implementation in three pilot sites in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

The goal of this TLC pilot project is to develop a framework for schools that can be replicated to address human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pregnancy and high-risk substance use among youth through health education and ensuring safe and supportive school environments. The project was developed by CDC and CDC Foundation and implemented with support from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to the CDC Foundation.

“The CDC Foundation is proud to be a partner in the Teens Linked to Care program, and we are grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for their incredible support over the past few years,” said Judith Monroe, MD, president and chief executive officer of the CDC Foundation. “It is our hope that the success of the TLC program can demonstrate that promoting prevention strategies to teens in their schools and communities can translate into a lifetime of healthy behaviors.”

The three pilot sites of Scott County School District 1 (Austin, Indiana), The Brighton Center (Campbell County, Kentucky), and Portsmouth City Health Department (Portsmouth, Ohio) have successfully implemented and developed strategies in several key areas, including:

  • New health education curricula reaching all students in their respective high schools that address prevention of HIV, STD, teen pregnancy, risky sexual behavior and substance use;
  • Developed and distributed products, to promote youth-friendly health services in order to increase access to HIV, STD, and substance use screening and testing, as well as other health services;
  • Collaborated with local health departments to offer health screenings to identify those most at risk for HIV, STDs, teen pregnancy, and high risk substance use;
  • Collected data about student opinions and experiences with bullying at school, resulting in a review of school bullying policies due to the association between bullying and substance use;
  • Produced anti-bullying and anti-opioid campaign videos to promote positive school climates where students feel safe from bullying and the risk of substance use; and
  • Partnered with their community’s drug-free coalition to leverage resources and increase youth and adult knowledge in substance use and prevention. 

“We know that substance use during adolescence is related to a wide variety of negative health outcomes, including HIV and STDs. TLC provides us the opportunity to apply our approach to addressing sexual risk behaviors among adolescents to substance use prevention. We hope to replicate this approach in other schools and communities so that we can continue the work to improve the health and well-being of our nation’s youth,” said Kathleen Ethier, PhD, director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.  

Additional products that will provide tools and resources to assist communities wanting to replicate TLC’s school-centered approach will be made available.