Tween and Teen Opioid Abatement Statewide Initiative

SMART (Skills Mastery and Resilience Training) Moves is an evidenced-informed prevention and education program using a team delivery approach involving Club staff, peer leaders, parents and community representatives. The program was developed in partnership with Allstate Foundation and Kohl’s Cares. Young people engage in discussion and role-playing, practicing resilience and refusal skills, developing assertiveness, strengthening decision-making skills, and analyzing media and peer influence via paced modules. The goal is to promote abstinence from opioids, marijuana and alcohol use, and other adolescent risks through knowledge gains and the practice of responsible behavior.

Boys & Girls Clubs play a crucial role in opioid prevention efforts by providing youth with safe, enriching, and affirming environments beyond the classroom. In late 2021, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy concurred and issued a nationwide advisory outlining youth enrichment programs as tools to promote healthy development and increase resilience. Additionally, a compilation of five national Boys & Girls Clubs of America Research and Evaluation studies demonstrates the effectiveness of Club strategies and activities; these studies include the 2009 Public/Private Ventures Study, 2022 National Outcomes Report, 2023 SMART Moves Evaluation, 2023 National Parent and Caregiver Study and the 2022 Club Alumni Study. The results are compelling:

  1. Regular Attendance Younger teens who attend the Club once per week or more have better academic, civic and health decision-making outcomes.
  2. High-Quality Experiences Members report feeling safe from harm (94%) and having adult staff who care about them (95%). Members are two times as likely to enjoy learning new things, 40% more likely to volunteer regularly and 40% less likely to use tobacco.
  3. Engaging Programs Boys & Girls Clubs’ evidence-informed programs result in improved outcomes. The SMART Moves curricula suite, including peer-led opioid prevention modules, improves social-emotional and health decision-making skills for youth in grades 3 to 8.
  4. Character and Leadership The majority of Club members feel they can stand up for what they think is right, even if their friends disagree (88%).
  5. Healthy Lifestyles Club teens are 6% more likely to abstain from illegal substance use than teens nationally.

Boys & Girls Clubs’ SMART Moves Teen and Tween Statewide Initiative, launched in February 2024 in partnership with the Fund for Resilient Nevada, builds on these principals and further aims to empower youth and communities through three measurable efforts:

  1. Build Youth Capacity Clubs will implement SMART Moves substance use prevention program to build knowledge, positive peer connections and social-emotional skills among 2,971 tweens and teens in 34 communities statewide. Youth will demonstrate an increase in knowledge of opioid misuse consequences, effective interventions, and resilience skills.
  2. Build Staff Capacity Clubs will equip 75 staff with professional development training, opioid intervention tools, including life-saving Naloxone/Narcan at a minimum of 10 sites, and integrate community resources to cultivate a safe and inclusive environment.
  3. Build Club Capacity Clubs will increase program effectiveness by engaging families and community support systems in 14 annual outreach events. Youth-based prevention activities are more effective when they happen across multiple settings, and when messages are echoed at home. To model this, Clubs will organize seven spring youth outreach activities and seven annual fall family events featuring opioid prevention learning activities and guest speakers.

Resilient Youth and Stronger Communities

In late 2017, the Nevada Alliance received a pilot grant from the Attorney General’s office to integrate the Positive Action curriculum as a cornerstone opioid prevention program at six Boys & Girls Club organizations. Positive Action is a U.S. Department of Justice accredited Best Practice substance abuse prevention program. Positive Action engages youth ages 6 to 18 years old in an evidenced-based drug resilience, character development, social and emotional learning and academic improvement curricula.

The Positive Action pilot initiative created new positions in Clubhouses to implement this targeted prevention program, employing dozens as Health and Life Skills Coordinators, Program Quality Directors and Teen Services Directors. In total, Club staff reached 4,886 children and teens with Positive Action over 12 months, more than double our originally stated goal of 2,000 young people. In addition, Clubs collectively engaged 1,300 adults and their families in community health forums. 

The effects of the program range from increased academic achievement to dramatic reductions in problem behaviors. These results have been replicated in diverse settings and feature the most rigorous efficacy study designs available.


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