University of Pittsburgh School of Education

Drug and Alcohol Services

Today's youth face many risks, including drug use, abuse, and violence. Responding to these risks before they become problems can be difficult. One of the goals of the Maximizing Adolescent Potentials (MAPS) Program is to help the public understand the causes of drug abuse and to prevent its onset. Drug abuse has serious consequences in our homes, schools, and communities.

The MAPS program intends to further the advancement and implementation of research-based prevention programs, strategies, policies, and practices, based on proven methodologies. Our program focuses on risks for alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) abuse and other problem behaviors that occur throughout a child's development. Prevention interventions designed and tested to address risks can help children at every step along their developmental path. By working with families, schools, and communities, we have found effective ways to help people gain the skills and approaches to stop problem behaviors before they occur.

The following strategies are used in the planning, selection, and delivery of prevention programs in the schools and community:

  • Education - involves a facilitator providing awareness and knowledge to participants on topics such as social skills, life skills, and judgment
  • Information Dissemination - provides awareness & knowledge on the nature and extent of ATOD use, abuse and addiction and the effects on individuals, families and communities
  • Alternative Activities - involve groups of youth and/or families gathering in healthy activities to develop a skill or awareness
  • Problem Identification & Referral
  • Community Based Process - activities include organizing, planning, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness of services, interagency collaboration, coalition building and networking
  • Environmental - establish or change community standards, codes, ordinances and attitudes which will then influence the incidence of use in a community.

Mental Health Services

Mental health is directly related to children's learning and development. It encompasses or intersects with interpersonal relationships, social-emotional skills, behavior, learning, academic motivation, mental illness, crisis prevention and response, school safety and substance abuse. Each of these issues affects not only the success and well being of the individual, but also the school climate and overall outcomes for all students.

The Mental Health Services of the MAPS Program serve private, public and parochial schools. Our school based mental health services provide a broad spectrum of assessment, prevention, intervention, counseling, consultation and referral activities and services. These services are essential to a schools ability to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, address classroom behavior and discipline, promote students' academic success, prevent and respond to crisis, support student social-emotional needs, identify and respond to a serious mental health problem, and support and partner with at-risk families. Ideally, our services partner with community-based providers so that students receive the support they need in a seamless, coordinated, and comprehensive system of care.

Interested in more information?

Jennifer Ely, Program Director, M.S.
(412) 648-7196