Preventure. Evidence-based school drug prevention program coming to Virginia

An associate professor at the VCU Institute of Drug and Alcohol Studies, Dr. Jasmin Vasilleva is interviewed by Anne Moss Rogers of annemoss.com and President of Beacon Tree Foundation. 

Article on Preventure and how it works. Can Addiction be prevented?

This grant has been submitted!

Presentation on this program is 5pm on December 7, 2016 at VCU. Larrick Center. Free admission and free parking on 8th St.

The evidence-based drug prevention program featured in this New York Times article, The 4 Traits That Put Kids at Risk for Addiction could potentially be coming to Virginia schools. It’s really a mental health initiative around which all future prevention and treatment. I believe it will have historical significance.

We could be the first state in the US with the opportunity to pilot this program with area schools and institutions. The program, called Preventure, has been proven to successfully reduce drug and alcohol abuse in schools by 30-80% at two year follow up in countries outside the US including Canada and Australia.

The Preventure Program, originally developed by Dr. Patricia Conrod, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal, identifies how a child’s temperament or personality traits drive risk for drug use which can lead to addiction.

The story of how I got involved

I read the New York Times article and spent the better part of a week searching for the program mentioned in the article. When I found it, I immediately contacted Dr. Patricia Conrod in Canada.

I got a response within 15 minutes.

Dr. Conrod said that no one in the US had expressed any interest at all. Except one person. And she was in Richmond, VA down at VCU. She then put me in contact with Dr. Jasmin Vassileva at VCU Institute of Drug and Alcohol Studies who has been trained by Dr. Conrod on the delivery of the intervention which includes two 90-minute sessions.

I met with Dr. Vassileva as well as Melissa, a friend who is a psych nurse, and we decided that Beacon Tree Foundation could partner with VCU Institute of Drug & Alcohol Studies to host a presentation with Dr. Conrod, the architect of the program, and Dr. Vassileva, to find the schools and institutions in Virginia to pilot the program as well as educate people on new solutions for drug and alcohol prevention in adolescents.

1. What is the goal of this presentation?

To anyone associated Virginia schools, MDs, Foundations, Tasks Forces, Addiction Specialists on the efficacy of the program, how it works and find institutions in Virginia in which to run the pilot.

2. What are the four traits identified as high risk for addiction?

These four personality traits are identified as potentially predisposing adolescents to alcohol and drug abuse. Not surprisingly, 3 of the 4 are mental health traits

  • sensation-seeking
  • impulsiveness
  • anxiety sensitivity
  • hopelessness

3. Does it take up class time?

It doesn’t have to. The program itself is two group format 90-minute sessions in the focused categories. It can be given during school hours or after school hours

4. Who administers it at the school?

It can be Dr. Vassileva, her research team, a teacher or a school counselor trained by Dr. Vassileva.

5. What age is eligible?

Dr. Vassileva wants to pilot with high schools, private or public, and it doesn’t have to be in Richmond but within Virginia.

6. How do you find the students with these high risk personality traits?

Initial trials show that a 24 question personality test can identify 90% of the children at highest risk. This test is given to all the students at a school to identify the ones at high risk although it’s not presented that way. Months later, two 90-minute workshops, introduced as a workshop that will channel your personality toward success, are offered. Surprisingly, most students sign up.

Only those with extreme scores on the test get the opportunity to attend. The workshop they are given is targeted to their most troublesome trait of the four listed.

Preventure life skills success training helps delay onset of alcohol and drug use. Students avoid early exposure to drugs on their developing brains therefore lowering their risk of early addiction, accidental death and/or suicide.

Virginia is currently ranked 39th for mental health treatment overall and 49th for treatment of those under 18 with major depression. Suicide rates have tripled since 1999 and the opiate epidemic is causing record overdose deaths.

Let’s do something about it.

Let’s prevent the problem and stem the tide before we lose our children. This from a mother who lost her child to suicide as a result of depression and addiction.

Want to know more? Want to be on the limited list of schools to participate? Contact me and I will forward the request to Dr. Vasilleva.


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AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

10 thoughts on “Preventure. Evidence-based school drug prevention program coming to Virginia”

  1. I am trying to obtain information on training for this program. Is there someone who is able to offer information. I live in a state where this program is being piloted in a few communities (Indiana). I am struggling to reach someone who can direct me to information regarding how to acquire training for this program. I would appreciate any help that could be offered.

    1. We are trying to schedule training now. It has been tough to do. There is a contract and we’ll need to have someone go over it. I wish I could tell you a magic formula but we are struggling through this process now. I see your email and I will put you on our Preventure mailing list so you see how we are doing it as we go through the process. I just got the contract today and need to fill in a lot of places. I have not had time to review it yet but have it open to do so now. What a coincidence you’d ask this at the very time I open the email. I will help in any way I can. We will do training here in Richmond, VA so you can always come here once we have dates. Better than Canada in February, that’s for sure.

      1. We would be looking to do trainings in July or August. Virginia would be a much better location than Canada. Thank you for adding my email to your mailing list. I look forward to receiving the emails. Do you believe the trainings will be available by this summer?

        1. We have to do trainings before summer here. There is a limit to the class size but it’s my hope that we can pay to train a high fidelity trainer. A U.S. Train the trainer person. So you’ll get the updates. We do have the advantage of Dr. Conrod having worked with a researcher here for decades and together they are submitting an NIH grant. HUGE grant.

  2. Chippewa County in Wisconsin received funding and is currently going to be trialing the Preventure program within its Middle School population throughout the county. I was wondering if I could chat with you regarding your success with the program.

  3. Greetings Anne Moss,
    I am a Drug Aware Prevention Educator on behalf of Crossroads Centre Antigua in schools across the island for the past fifteen years or so. We are currently searching for an evidenced based school program when we came across this article. We are interested in the training you offer to implement this program in Antigua and Barbuda and across the Eastern Caribbean to include more than ten nations eventually. We will be willing to have our representative come to Canada and receive your training. Please let me have more information as soon as possible. Thanks for your courtesies in advance.

    1. I don’t do the training but I know who does. I have your email so I will follow up later today with contact information. I am just helping do things like get the letters and other things to see that we get grant funding.

  4. Anne Moss,

    The video is great! I am so excited to see this amazing project move towards coming to fruition!


  5. Anne- I am amazed at how you are being used to Champion these issues. Your gifts, your talents, your experiences and your pain all coming together to bring to light a hope for those who can still use it. Keep up the good work. We need more people who will put themselves out there to make sure no more children/people are lost to depression and addiction.

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