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Student Assistance Programs

Provides information for implementing new Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) along with resources for strengthening existing SAPs.

Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) evolved from the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) model of the 1960s-1970s. Recognition of the importance of removing all barriers to work performance translated to school policy in the 1980s when SAPs developed in the vein of EAPs. SAPs at first only addressed substance abuse in students, but soon expanded to help address a wide range of issues that impede adolescent academic achievement. As Gary Anderson writes in the first published model for Student Assistance Programs, “Any student assistance program effort demonstrates that a school system recognizes, first, that such problems do plague students and, second, that a responsible system of adults must respond and help.” (Hipsley, 2001)

According to the California Student Survey External link opens in new window or tab. , trends reveal that high rate use of alcohol or drugs by California students increase significantly in the middle and high school years. Over the last decade, eleventh grade excessive alcohol users’ and high risk drug users’ rates are typically between one-third higher and twice as high as ninth grade rates. The recent emphasis on prevention has not reduced the portion of students who use at a high rate. The goals of SAPs are to reduce students’ behavioral and disciplinary violations and substance use habits while improving school attendance and academic performance through the referral and facilitation of appropriate services.


The sources listed below will provide the following information:

  • What are SAPs and why they are needed
  • Data to prove the effectiveness of SAPs
  • Guidelines for starting SAPs
  • The cost to operate SAPs
  • SAP resources and references


Student Assistance Program (SAP) Bulletins
These bulletins have been designed to support school administrators, teachers, counselors and other school district personnel, non-profit organizations, and agencies who are involved with SAPs.


Positive Action External link opens in new window or tab.
This nationally recognized, evidence-based program improves academic success, behavior, and character development.

Project SUCCESS External link opens in new window or tab.
Project SUCCESS (Schools Using Coordinated Efforts to Strengthen Students) is a school-based Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Model program that prevents and reduces substance use among high-risk multi-problem adolescents.

Research Studies, Information, and Free Materials

Join Together External link opens in new window or tab.
Information for prevention and community action regarding substance abuse and gun violence from The Partnership at External link opens in new window or tab. .

Search Institute External link opens in new window or tab.
An independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide leadership, knowledge, and resources to promote healthy children, youth, and communities. The heart of the institute's work is the framework of 40 Developmental Assets External link opens in new window or tab..

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration External link opens in new window or tab.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.


Connecticut Governor's Prevention Partnership External link opens in new window or tab.
The Student Assistance Program is a school-based prevention and early intervention program for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.

Masonic Model Foundation for Children External link opens in new window or tab.
The National Masonic Foundation for Children established in 1986, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization that seeks to promote programs in schools, particularly the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program, to identify the barriers preventing students from achieving academic success and provide intervention to help the youth of this country lead productive, useful, and healthy lives. More than 36,000 educators have attended Masonic Model training which has resulted in more than half a million school children being successfully referred to and helped by this program.


Center for Applied Research Solutions (CARS) External link opens in new window or tab.
Provides on-line training for substance abuse and mentoring professionals.

Questions:   Coordinated School Health and Safety Office | 916-319-0914
Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 21, 2017