BHDDH Prevention Unit

It Starts with You

The Prevention Unit at BHDDH created a revitalized system for the Prevention Coalitions. There are seven Regional Prevention Task Forces responsible for overseeing the planning and delivery of substance use prevention activities within the municipalities that comprise the region.

Each Task Force includes city and town representation, which ensures that individual communities continue to play an active role in planning and service delivery. The regional Task Forces provide administrative oversight, funding and other needed resources to support the smaller municipal coalition contributions as part of the larger regional prevention plan. The Task Forces also acts as fiduciary and administrative agents.  Click here to see some of the work of the Regional Task Forces.

Evaluations by the Community Research and Services Team (CRST) from the University of Rhode Island:

  • The CRST evaluated the Regional Prevention Task Force coalition initiatives from 2016-2021 for BHDDH. Click here to read the report.

  • The CRST also evaluated the Student Assistance Services initiative "Project SUCCESS," an evidence-based program from 2018-2021 for BHDDH. Click here for the report.


Interested in the 2024 RI Student Survey?

The Rhode Island Student Survey (RISS) is a collaboration among the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (RI BHDDH), the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE). The Survey, one of three State agency surveys, is administered every other year. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) is administered by RIDOH on the off-years. The RISS is a risk and prevalence survey for Rhode Island youth in middle and high schools. A risk and prevalence survey looks at a set of factors or conditions to which youth may be exposed that are associated with negative behavioral health outcomes, as well as the extent of which youth may report engaging in problem behavior. It explores substance use, bullying, depression, suicide, and violence.

Click below for:


Want to read each Regional Report? Click on the region below to read their full report:

RI Young Adult Survey

The Rhode Island Young Adult Survey (RIYAS) is a behavioral survey administered to adults aged 18-25 years, residing in Rhode Island for at least part of the year. The survey is offered in English, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Partnerships for Success grant via the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH). Read the RIYAS survey here.

RI Substance Abuse Prevention:

Workforce Development 2020 - 2024

One of the greatest challenges to the substance abuse prevention field in Rhode Island, as well as nationally, is the recruitment of new employees, and the retention of current ones, as our workforce ages into retirement or changes careers. BHDDH is dedicated to the recruitment, retention, education, and training of substance abuse treatment and prevention professionals and to improving the quality of our workforce.

Valued partnerships support the development and implementation of new initiatives to support workforce development. Rhode Island’s prevention programs ensure that communities have the opportunity to achieve the best possible behavioral health outcomes and encourage engagement, inclusion, and shared responsibility. Read the Development Plan here.

BHDDH Prevention Strategic Plan

BHDDH and key stakeholders, who have a vested interest in prevention, have collaborated to develop a strategic prevention plan. The purpose of this plan is to outline BHDDH’s primary goals and strategies to strengthen the infrastructure and to provide support at the State and community-level to prevent and reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among youth and young adults.

Click here to read the five-year strategic plan.

Student Assistance Counselors

Student Assistance is an early identification and referral program for middle and high school students. Master’s Level Student Assistance Counselors deliver an evidence-based program called Project Success that is implemented in 32 Districts and 2 Technical Schools (20 High Schools and 27 Middle Schools).

The goals of the Student Assistance Program/Project Success are to:

  • Enhance the resiliency of adolescents whose parents have a substance use condition
  • Delay adolescents' initial use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
  • Decrease adolescents' use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs

A valuable feature of Project Success is its ability to identify and help youth, especially those at high risk, before the onset of alcohol and other drug problems. This early detection and intervention has proven effective in delaying the initiation and use of alcohol and other drugs, and reducing the resultant school/life problems.

Examples of activities performed by Student Assistant Counselors:

  • Prevention Education Sessions
  • Being an Adolescent; Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs; Relationships: Family and Friends; Skills with coping
  • Short Term Individual & Group Counseling
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics Group; Newcomers Group; Recovery Group
  • Parent Programs – working with the schools
  • Parent Teacher Organization meetings, as well as Parent-Teacher conferences; Student Orientation

For a complete list of participating schools and counselors please click here