Prevention Education

This webpage contains information on prevention education in Ohio. Click a link below to go directly to that topic. 

Prevention in Ohio 

Ohio law describes prevention services as a planned sequence of culturally relevant, evidenced-based strategies, which are designed to reduce the likelihood of or delay the onset of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Prevention services are intentionally designed to reduce risk or promote health before the onset of a disorder and be population-focused and targeted to specific levels of risk. Prevention services in schools provide all students with the supports needed to build resiliency, reduce risk factors, and gain skills for life success. 

The purpose of prevention-focused programs, services, and supports are to help students in developing knowledge and skills to engage in healthy behaviors and decision-making and to increase their awareness of the dangers and consequences of risky behaviors, including substance use, suicide, bullying, and other harmful behaviors. 


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) identifies six effective prevention strategies. The strategies are listed below. 

  • Information Dissemination 
  • Prevention Education 
  • Alternatives 
  • Problem Identification and Referral 
  • Community Based Processes 
  • Environmental Strategies 

The prevention strategy of education focuses on the delivery of prevention services to target audiences with the intent of increasing knowledge and skills. It involves two-way communication between a facilitator and a participant. Prevention education promotes the health and safety of students, schools and communities. Examples of prevention education include: 

  • Classroom and Small Group Sessions 
  • Parenting and Family Management Classes 
  • Peer Leader and Peer Helper Programs 
  • Education Programs for Youth Groups 
  • Groups for Children with Family Impacted by Substance Use 


When selecting prevention services, it is critical that the program or practice is a good fit for the specific audience. SAMHSA’s Strategic Planning Framework can be used to ensure appropriate prevention services are being implemented. Prevention services should be evidence-based and have both a conceptual and practical fit to yield the highest likelihood of producing positive prevention outcomes. 

Prevention education is an integral part of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a multi-tiered approach to supporting students. ​When prevention services are provided through the PBIS framework, staff and students create a safe and supportive learning environment. Students are more likely to engage in learning, and each student receives the supports they need to gain skills for success in school and life. 

Prevention programs and practices are most effective when they are matched to their target population’s level of risk. The Institute of Medicine categorizes prevention programs and practices into three classifications: universal, selective, and indicated. 

Tier I 

Tier I prevention strategies, also known as universal prevention, are offered to all students and focus on developing knowledge and skills to engage in healthy behaviors and decision-making. This increases awareness of dangers and consequences of risky behaviors like substance use, suicide, bullying and other harmful behaviors.​  

Examples of prevention strategies at Tier I include: 

  • Positive School Climate and Culture 
  • Evidence-based Curriculum 
  • Universal Screening 

Tier II and III 

Tier II and Tier III prevention strategies, known as selective and indicated prevention, respectively, are implemented as needed to support students with increased risk factors.​ 

Examples of prevention strategies at Tier II include: 

  • Small Group Instruction  
  • Brief Individualized Interventions 
  • Mentoring  

Examples of prevention strategies at Tier III include: 

  • Intensive, Individuals Intervention  
  • Alternatives to Discipline  
  • Wraparound Services 

Prevention does not take the place of intensive intervention or treatment. Students may be referred to a school counselor, social worker, or appropriate provider when supports needed are outside of the scope of prevention. When referring students for additional supports, schools should use a collaborative, family-driven process. Engaging families and caregivers in the treatment process increases the probability that the student will remain in treatment and that treatment gains will be maintained after treatment has ended. 

Interagency collaboration between the departments of Education and Mental Health and Addiction Services allows for continued collaboration and strengthening of both prevention and behavioral health services for Ohio youth.  

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Prevention Requirements for Ohio Schools 


As required by Ohio law, the Department distributes the prevention services data report annually to determine the types of prevention-focused programs, services, and supports used to assist students in developing the knowledge and skills to engage in healthy behaviors and decision-making and to increase their awareness of the dangers and consequences of risky behaviors.    


Ohio law indicates specific topic areas which should be included in health education. Topics areas related to prevention education are identified below. Instructional supports for health education topics can be found on the Health Education webpage. Additional resources are also available on the following pages: 

Opioid Abuse Prevention 

  • Health education must include instruction on prescription opioid abuse prevention, with an emphasis on the prescription drug epidemic, and the connection between prescription opioid abuse and addiction to other drugs, such as heroin. 

Harmful Effects of and Legal Restrictions of Electronic Smoking Devices 

  • Health education must address the harmful effects of and legal restrictions of tobacco, including electronic smoking devices.  

Suicide Prevention, Violence Prevention and Social Inclusion 

Child Sexual Abuse, Dating Violence and Sexual Violence Prevention
  • Traditional public schools, community schools and STEM schools must provide developmentally appropriate instruction in child sexual abuse prevention to students in grades K-6 and developmentally appropriate instruction in dating violence prevention and sexual violence prevention to students in grades 7-12.

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Last Modified: 5/28/2024 11:52:28 AM