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Division of Substance Abuse Services

Prevention Services Contracts

Prevention Services awards contracts through competitive announcements of funding on a three year cycle.  Contracts for FY2013-FY2015 were awarded in 2012. 

Prevention Services contracts with two types of prevention service providers.  Agencies are funded through the Tennessee Prevention Network, and they provide evidence-based and culturally competent programming to priority populations such as children of substance abusing parents, children with incarcerated parents, and children in foster care.  County level coalitions foster community environments that discourage substance misuse and abuse. 

Access Tennessee’s prevention provider directory here.

The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF)

The Strategic Prevention Framework, or SPF, informs all state-funded Tennessee prevention initiatives. 

Key characteristics of the SPF:

  • The SPF promotes a public health model.
  • The SPF promotes a systems-based approach to substance abuse prevention.
  • The SPF allows States and communities to build capacity and sustain a culturally-competent infrastructure.
  • The SPF is an example of outcomes-based prevention.
  • The SPF requires evidence-based programs, policies and practices as the basis for program implementation.  
  • The SPF encourages community-level change through a combination of environmental and individual strategies, which in turn, can promote State-wide change.
  • The SPF addresses substance abuse issues across the life span. 

The SPF consists of five stages:

  • Assess needs
  • Build capacity to address those needs
  • Plan strategically
  • Implement effective programs, policies, and practices to address needs
  • Evaluate efforts for outcomes

The values of sustainability and cultural competence are integrated throughout the five steps of the SPF.  Read more about the SPF here.


The Tennessee Prevention Network is composed of agencies that provide substance abuse prevention services to individuals.  These agencies provide one or both of the following types of services:
(1) Selective prevention services delivered to individuals who are members of a group that has an elevated risk for developing substance abuse problems.  Examples of TPN programs that serve selective populations are special clubs and groups for children of alcoholics, rites of passage programs for at-risk males, and skills training programs that target young children of substance abusing parents.
(2) Indicated prevention services delivered to individuals with personal risk factors or initiation behaviors related to substance abuse.  Examples include programs for high school students who are experiencing problem behaviors such as truancy, academic failure, juvenile depression, suicidal ideation, and early signs of substance abuse.


Prevention Services funds 36 anti-drug coalitions in the state.  Coalitions focus on “environmental” prevention strategies, rather than programmatic, one-on-one work.  Environmental prevention strategies, such as public awareness campaigns, policy development, and work with law enforcement tend to create an environment in which people are less likely to misuse or abuse substances.  Areas of focus for Tennessee prevention coalitions include  tobacco, prescription drugs, and alcohol.

Eight strategy areas to effect change in communities:

  • Modify/change community policies to promote positive behaviors and discourage negative behaviors
  • Provide information that increases understanding of negative consequences of substance use and abuse and positive impacts of substance abuse prevention efforts.
  • Enhance prevention skills among coalition members and staff, community members, service providers, law enforcement, educators, youth.
  • Provide support to individuals or organizations to take action.
  • Increase barriers to substance misuse and abuse and reduce access to substances.
  • Increase incentives for behaviors that should be encouraged and increase penalties for behaviors that should be discouraged.
  • Change physical design of space or change the environment to encourage or discourage targeted behaviors.

Partnership for Success
Some Tennessee coalitions are subrecipients of Tennessee’s Partnership for Success (PFS) grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The PFS grant program is designed to help States and U.S. Territories achieve a quantifiable decline in State-wide substance abuse rates.  Grantee states must prove that they have the infrastructure and capacity to reduce substance abuse problems and achieve specific program outcomes. 

Tennessee’s Partnership for Success county coalitions use the SPF process (link to SPF page) to fulfill Tennessee’s PFS goals and objectives. These are:
1.   Reduce the binge drinking rate for 14-25 year olds

  • By 2012 reduce binge drinking rates in last 30 days for 14-17 year olds by 3.6%.
  • By 2012 reduce binge drinking rates in last 30 days for 18-25 year olds by 4.9%.
  • By 2014 reduce binge drinking rates for 14-17 year olds by 6.5%.
  • By 2014 reduce binge drinking rates for 18-25 year olds by 8.1%.

2.   Reduce binge drinking related consequences.

  • By 2014 significantly reduce the percentage of 14-17 year olds who rode one or more times during the past 30 days in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol
  • By 2014 significantly reduce the percentage of 14-17 year olds who drove a car or other vehicle one or more times during the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol.
  • By 2014 significantly decrease the number of 14-25 year olds who were arrested for driving under the influence.
  • By 2014 significantly decrease the number of 14-25 year olds who were involved in alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
  • By 2014 significantly decrease the number of 14-25 year olds who were arrested for alcohol-related crimes.

3.   Strengthen capacity and infrastructure at the State- and community-levels in support of prevention.

  • By 2014 improve state and community prevention coalition capacity and collaboration for all phases of data-based planning and feedback, workforce development, and effective inter-agency and inter-community policy, programs and practice.
  • By 2014 strengthen current state actions and strategies to support coalitions in targeting local population and identifying service priorities related to adolescent and young adult binge drinking and in selecting and supporting sensible implementation of evidence-based policies, programs and practices.

4.   Leverage, redirect and realign State-wide funding streams for prevention.

  • By 2014 strengthen and focus current efforts to leverage and support collaboration, coordination, and integration of state resources to support communities and the state prevention system.

The following prevention coalitions are funded under Tennessee’s Partnership for Success grant:




Blount County Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team


Coffee County Anti-Drug Coalition


Nashville Prevention Partnership


Franklin County Prevention Coalition


Hamblen County Substance Abuse Coalition


Hamilton County Coalition


Community Anti-Drug Coalition For Jackson County


Alliance Of Citizens Together Improving Our Neighborhoods


Metropolitan Drug Commission


McMinn Anti-Drug Coalition Aiding Teens


Community Anti-Drug Coalition Of Jackson -Madison County


Power of Putnam


Roane County Anti-Drug Coalition


Community Anti-Drug Coalition Of Rutherford County


Schools Together Allowing No Drugs


Memphis/Shelby County Anti-Drug Coalition


Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition


Washington County Anti-Drug Coalition


Weakley County Alliance For A Safe And Drug Free Tennessee


The Alliance

Tennessee’s association of county prevention coalitions, the Alliance, coordinates statewide advocacy initiatives, maintains a communications network for coordinating prevention activities, engages bordering states in national campaigns for prevention of substance abuse and misuse, maintains a knowledge base of potential and appropriate state substance abuse and misuse prevention legislation, and coordinates regional media coverage of prevention activities and outreach.  The Alliance’s membership is composed of county level coalitions  and statewide agencies including the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services (DADAS), the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug, and other Addiction Services (TAADAS), Community Anti-Drug Coalitions Across Tennessee (CADCAT), the Tennessee Army National Guard, and Tennessee institutions of higher education.

The Tennessee Prevention Advisory Council (TNPAC)

The Tennessee Prevention Advisory Council is the Tennessee prevention community’s forum for information dissemination, policy discussion, and interagency collaboration.  Its mission is to promote implementation of data driven, evidence based, culturally competent, population specific, and universally accessible alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse prevention services in Tennessee.  Five standing committees support the work of the TNPAC:

  • Assessment and Evaluation
  • Policy and Strategic Planning
  • Professional Development
  • Membership
  • Youth

The TNPAC meets on the second Tuesday of January, April, July, and October.


Prevention Services partners with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture to enforce the “Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco and Electronic Cigarettes Act” (TCA 39-17-1501).  The Act was established to ensure that Tennessee was in compliance with Section 1926 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300x-26), which stipulates that in order to receive the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (received by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services), a State must have a law providing that it is unlawful for any manufacturer, retailer or distributor of tobacco products to sell or distribute any such product to any individual under the age of 18.  The state is required to annually conduct random, unannounced inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Agriculture’s Role in Synar

Under its contract with the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Agriculture conducts enforcement as well as Synar retail checks.  The process for conducting an enforcement check is different than the process for conducting a Synar check.

Over an 18 month period, every retail establishment that sells tobacco products is checked for compliance (with the exception of establishments in counties where juvenile justices do not allow minor participation in enforcement activities).  Tennessee’s non-compliance rate for enforcement for calendar year 2011 was 8.11%). Please see the attached list that displays all retail establishments in TN, the address, and the county they are located in and the findings of their enforcement checks.   Link to county enforcement information here.

During Synar checks it is counted as a violation if the inspector and the youth determine that the clerk would have sold the cigarettes to the youth.  The youth do not actually leave the establishment with a pack of cigarettes.  Tennessee’s non-compliance rate for Synar for FY 2011 was 16.1% and for FY 2012 was 16.7%. States must achieve a retail violation rate of less than 20% in order to stay in compliance with the federal law and continue receiving the full SAPT Block Grant. 

Please find links to a tobacco merchant education handbook designed for persons that sell tobacco products.  We encourage you to know your role in preventing youth from buying tobacco products.  (Provide link to merchant education handbook here)

Risk and Protective Factors

The goal of Prevention Services is to reduce risk factors for substance misuse and abuse and increase protective factors against substance use and abuse for all Tennesseans.  Risk factors (such as deviant attitudes and behaviors) and protective factors (such as parental support) affect the likelihood that a person will abuse drugs later in life.  Tennessee prevention initiatives address the risk and protective factors that have the most impact, and the greatest potential for change, for their target populations.  For example, a program working with young children might choose to work on family risk factors (e.g., lack of parent-child attachment) rather than social risk factors (e.g., association with drug-abusing peers), which are more important for adolescents.                                                                                                               
Protective factors – factors that decrease an individual’s risk for a substance abuse disorder – include the following:
-Strong, positive bonds with family
-Family or caregiver monitoring of activities and peers
-Clear and consistently enforced rules of conduct
-Parental involvement
-School success
-Strong, positive bonds with institutions
-Negative perception of drug use                                                                                                                         

Risk factors – factors that increase an individual’s risk for a substance abuse disorder – include the following:
-Chaotic home environment
-Ineffective parenting
-Lack of parent-child attachment
-Inappropriately shy or aggressive classroom behavior
-Academic failure
-Poor social coping skills
-Positive perception of drug use                                                                                                                           

Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT)

The Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral for Treatment-Tennessee Program (SBIRT-TN) is funded by a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

SBIRT provides universal screening in primary care settings for risky substance use, coupled with a patient-centered discussion of screening with results between the patient and health care provider. SBIRT is an evidence based model that provides appropriate levels of care to all patients, including effective intervention before the need for more extensive or specialized treatment.  

SBIRT activities funded through the SAMHSA grant are being implemented at the Clinic at Meharry in Nashville; Eastern Tennessee State University’s family practice clinics in Bristol, Johnson City and Kingsport; and the Smyrna and Milan Tennessee Army National. SBIRT-TN is committed to training and partnering with Tennessee primary care physicians and healthcare facilities to promote SBIRT as a standard of care in Tennessee. 


In 2011, Tennessee received the Strategic Prevention Framework State Prevention Enhancement (SPE) grant, which brought together high-level representatives from the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (DMHSAS), Divisions of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; TN Primary Care Association; TN Alcoholic Beverage Commission; TN Department of Children’s Services, Division of Juvenile Justice; TN Department of Education, Office of Safe & Supportive Schools; TN Governor’s Highway Safety Office; and the TN Department of Health. Representatives of these “Policy Consortium” members expressed a common vision for strengthening the infrastructure of prevention services in TN including establishment of a coordinated and data-driven service delivery system; shared data; enhanced capacity to measure process and outcomes; and better use of limited resources. 

They identified the four following areas for improvement:

  1. Coordination of Services: Coordinating resources to support an effective prevention system in Tennessee.
  2. Training and Technical Assistance: Establishing a system for technical assistance and training that maximizes collaboration, minimizes funding and staffing redundancies and is responsive to the needs of prevention professionals.
  3. Data Collection, Analysis and Reporting:  Establishing shares data sets to facilitate collaboration in planning, delivery and evaluation of statewide prevention services.
  4. Performance and Evaluation:  Developing capacity to collaboratively evaluate process and outcome measures for shared prevention indicators at the community and state levels.

The SPE grant culminated in a collaborative strategic five-year prevention plan that will be updated annually as the Consortium develops understanding of prevention needs and strategies to address those needs. Tennessee’s five foremost goals for the next five years are:   

  1. Increase service system capacity to build emotional health and prevent/delay substance abuse and mental illness.
  2. Prevent or reduce consequences of prescription drug misuse and abuse. 
  3. Prevent or reduce consequences of underage drinking and adult problem drinking. 
  4. Prevent suicides and attempted suicides among populations at high risk. 
  5. Prevent or reduce tobacco use among youth and adults.

The five year strategic plan is available here.

SPE Five Year Plan
Appendix B
Appendix D
Appendix E


The Tennessee Certification Board is authorized by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium to issue prevention certification within the state of Tennessee.  This certification is honored internationally. 

The purpose of the certification in prevention is to establish and recognize basic standards for professional competence in the prevention field and establish and confirm the credibility of the prevention profession with consumers, employers and funders. Certification as a Prevention Specialist is based on experience and competencies as set by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).

Tennessee agencies and coalitions contracted with the state to provide selective, indicated, and universal prevention services are required to have in their employ at least one certified prevention specialist, as of FY2013.  For more information about prevention certification in Tennessee, please visit the Tennessee Certification Board’s website here.

Higher Education

Prevention Services partners with the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) for substance abuse prevention work on college campuses in Tennessee.  TICUA engages Tennessee’s private colleges and universities to work collaboratively in areas of public policy, cost containment, and professional development to better serve the state and its citizens.  TICUA's 35 member colleges and universities educate more than 72,000 students from across the state and country and throughout the world. 

School Based Liaisons for At Risk Youth

The School Based Liaisons for At Risk Youth (SBL-ARY) service provides in-person support for teachers structuring their classrooms to enhance learning for children with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED), behavior problems, or Substance Use and Abuse Disorders (SUAD).  It also provides training and education on childhood mental health and substance abuse issues to teachers, school staff, and students to promote a healthy teaching environment.  Finally, the SBL-ARY acts as a liaison between family and school and assists parents and youth through the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process.

In-Home Services for Infants of At-Risk Pregnant and Post-Partum Women

In-Home Services for Infants of At-Risk Pregnant and Post-Partum Women’s Program provide monthly home visits to at-risk mothers to improve pregnancy outcomes and ensure the health, growth and development of at-risk infants.  Nurses providing home visits improve the health status of women and children in Tennessee by reducing the use and misuse of tobacco, alcohol and other substances and increasing early identification and management of maternal depression.  Services are provided from pregnancy through the child’s second birthday.

Comprehensive Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs Program

The Comprehensive Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs program consists of structured, intensive group sessions targeting youth who may be at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, or other drug (ATOD) use and abuse problems.  The sessions, administered at Boys and Girls Clubs throughout the state, are age-specific, developmentally appropriate, and inclusive of parents.  The program incorporates community service projects to strengthen commitment to avoid ATOD use and abuse.

Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug and other Addiction Services (TAADAS)

The Tennessee Association of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Services (TAADAS) is a statewide agency that advocates for substance abuse treatment and prevention services through community education and engagement. TAADAS provides coordination of training and technical assistance for the Division of Substance Abuse Services provider network. 

TAADAS provides free resources to educate the public about substance abuse.  Visit their website to learn more about TAADAS here and order materials.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services Links