Association of Student Assistance Professionals of Vermont
"Bridging the Gap between Prevention and Treatment"

What are the Problems In Vermont Schools?

Students at risk: The 2001 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)(3) gives a disturbing profile of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among eighth through twelfth grade students in Vermont.

% Students using the following substances during the past 30 days

Used alcohol



Smoked cigarettes



Smoked marijuana



Used cocaine



In addition, during their lifetime, 15% of students have used illicit drugs such as PCP or LSD, 14% have used inhalants, and 3% have used a needle to inject illegal drugs. According to the Vermont Department of Education(4), 1,107 students were suspended and 21 were expelled for alcohol and other drug possessions during the 2000-2001 school year.

The YRBS reports on other risk behaviors as well, many of which are associated with substance use. For example, 13% of students reported making a plan about how to attempt suicide during the past year; and during the past 30 days, 8% carried weapons on school property.

Schools at Risk: Student support services not complete. According to the Vermont Department of Education(4), the percentage of schools having alcohol and other drug support services is about 80%. While this may seem like a relatively high figure, this represents schools where the alcohol, tobacco and other drug policy "...addresses the support & referral system but does not address cooperative agreements." This may be due to:

  • lack of training around drug issues
  • lack of funding
  • teachers and school staff are already over-extended.

Communities at Risk: Another reason that student support services might be inadequate is the lack of community support. It is estimated, that substance abuse costs Vermonters $582 million each year (or about $1,000 for every Vermont resident) to pay for unnecessary health care, criminal justice expenditures, and lost productivity.

Given the demonstrated cost-effectiveness of substance abuse treatments(5), can the state and communities afford to ignore students' needs for intervention and treatment?

What Are Student Assistance Programs?

What Are the Problems in Vermont Schools?

Do SAP's Work?

How Do I Start an SAP?

Success Stories

Student Assistance Programs in Vermont