Educator resources

Rise Above Colorado offers educators interactive, engaging lessons to educate and empower teens about substance misuse. By leveraging content from definitive resources, including, Above the Influence, Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey data, and teens themselves, the following resources can be integral components of substance abuse prevention curriculum for 5th – 12th grade teens. The 45-60 minute lessons are standards- and science-based and foster instructional strategies that are interactive, discussion-oriented and enhance skills. All instructional materials (e.g. facilitator guide, handouts, pre-post surveys) are provided for the educator or peer educator to lead rich and relevant discussions that promote teens’ behavioral health. If you have any questions or concerns about these materials, email


The Not Prescribed Lesson provides teens in middle and high schools with the science and the stories to understand the risks of misusing prescription drugs and the tools and resources to manage their own health as well as advocate for their peers’ health. This standards-based lesson leverages personal testimony from teens and their families through a compelling video and provides educators with a science-based interactive presentation to facilitate conversation and learning.

After facilitating the Not Prescribed Lesson, students will know and understand:

  • What prescription drugs are
  • Appropriate use of prescription drugs
  • Effects of prescription drug abuse
  • The developing brain
  • How positive and negative decisions affect the brain
  • Addiction and overdose risk factors
  • Healthy decision making
  • Six steps to Rise Above

Launch the Not Prescribed Lesson


Media Smart Youth – Not Prescribed
A 3-4 week unit exploring the connection between media and drug use, fostering media literacy as an essential 21st Century skill for health, academic and career success. Adapted from The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! Program Packet (2005), a promising practice for obesity prevention.

How to Be a Good Friend
Being a good friend is not always easy. It starts, though, with having a conversation and listening. Here are some tips and techniques to help students practice these skills so that they feel prepared for the difficult conversations. This lesson can stand alone, supplement Not Prescribed or the Meth Prevention Lesson, and is also included in the Media Smart Youth - Not Prescribed unit.

Building Safe Medicine Use Starts Early - Elementary School Education Resources from Generation Rx
Prescription and over-the-counter medicines are typically accessible and visible in our homes, and children should understand prescription and over-the-counter medication safety at an early age. What follows is a collection of age-appropriate, engaging resources that educate children about medication safety principles, equipping them with a foundation for understanding how to use medicines safely before they enter their teen and adult years. They may be used in small or large groups, as stand-alone activities, or in combination with other lessons. Some activities may be better suited for younger children (grades K-2), while others may be more appropriate for older students (grades 3-5).
Download Materials - English.       Download Materials - en Español.

Meth Prevention Lesson

The Meth Prevention Lesson provides teens in middle and high schools with the facts, tools, and resources to understand the risks of methamphetamine and to influence their peers. This standards-based lesson leverages, the definitive source on meth, and provides teachers with engaging, easy-to-use materials to lead a 45-minute class.

After the class, students will understand:

  • The short- and long-term effects associated with methamphetamine use
  • The danger and toxicity of the ingredients in Meth
  • The mechanisms of Meth addiction
  • The effects of Meth on the brain, body, relationships, and the community
  • The risks of trying Meth, even once
  • How to communicate the risks of Meth to their peers and take action to prevent Meth use

At the beginning of the 45-minute lesson students will assess their knowledge of Meth with the 6-statement "What Do You Know" Worksheet. The class then will explore these 6 statements through discussion of selected content on



Teacher Materials
  1. Lesson Overview: a one-page summary of the Meth Prevention Lesson
  2. Teacher's Guide: step-by-step instructions for the teacher to lead students through an exploration of each topic. The guide includes instructions on the most impactful content on and suggested discussion questions
  3. What Do You Know: teacher key
  1. What Do You Know: a one-page handout for students to reflect on 6 statements to gauge their knowledge of methamphetamine

Launch the Meth Prevention Lesson


This plan adds two additional days to the one-day lesson in order to take your students deeper into skill building. The second day analyzes the influences and impacts of various meth addiction stories and ads. The third day supports students in designing a project to advocate for the Not Even Once message.
Download the expanded lesson.

How to Be a Good Friend
Being a good friend is not always easy. It starts, though, with having a conversation and listening. Here are some tips and techniques to help students practice these skills so that they feel prepared for the difficult conversations. This lesson can stand alone, supplement Not Prescribed or the Meth Prevention Lesson, and is also included in the Media Smart Youth - Not Prescribed unit.


Our perceptions often become our reality by shaping our values and norms. Utilizing The Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey (RACYS), a data source for behavioral health and substance use attitudes and behaviors among Colorado teens 12-17, engage teens with the facts to facilitate interactive, data-driven discussions about media, perception, norms and peer pressure.

Download Numbers & Norms (ppt)
Download Numbers & Norms (pdf)
Download Fact Sheets (zip)


Together We Rise is a space where teens can express themselves and explore what it means to Rise Above the pressures and stresses we all face. Launched by Rise Above Colorado’s Teen Action Council, Together We Rise is a collaborative space filled with authenticity, struggle, and hope. Teens are encouraged to share their stories, poetry, photos, videos, murals, music, etc., because Together We Rise!


Through funding from the Colorado Office of Behavioral Health, Rise Above Colorado offers technical assistance and resource support around the intersections of youth engagement and substance misuse prevention (with a focus on prescription drug misuse) for community agencies and coalitions in targeted communities across Colorado. The current communities involved in this work are: Adams, Arapahoe, Denver, Douglas, Grand, Larimer, Mesa, Moffat, Prowers, Pueblo, and Routt counties. Rise Above supports communities in engaging young people in the conversation and empowering them to be leaders in prevention efforts, also connecting them to broader behavioral health promotion campaigns like On The Rise.

In partnership with local community agencies, Rise Above provides resources around integrating the statewide collective impact efforts of the Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention for youth substance misuse prevention using positive youth development approaches (see Other Resources); delivering statewide public messaging campaigns targeting both youth- and general public- audiences; sharing educational resources and best practices across communities (see Educator Resources); and changing prescription drug disposal habits of the general population by the establishment and awareness of permanent prescription drug disposal sites.


The Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey is a data source for behavioral health and substance use attitudes and behaviors among Colorado teens 12-17. The 2018 data of more than 600 youth is based on a representative sample of the entire state. The full survey, along with fact sheets about specific substances are available below:

Healthy Kids Colorado Survey & Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey: Creating a fuller picture

In this 50-minute webinar, you’ll hear how to utilize the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data results alongside the 2016 Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey data for a fuller understanding of youth behavioral health and substance use attitudes in Colorado.

Watch the Webinar

Social Norming Youth Messaging Campaign -
On The Rise

The On The Rise campaign brings together resonant imagery of youth living their lives, pursuing their passions and reaching toward the future with data-informed messages aimed at debunking incorrect perceptions about youth substance use. The objective of On The Rise is to measurably impact teens’ attitudes towards substance use by closing the gap between perceived use and actual reported use, leveraging positive peer influence for healthy decision-making.

See the data being presented to youth through On The Rise.

We offer a variety of opportunities for youth-serving organizations to actively engage in this campaign, from sharing the campaign content on your own platforms, to localizing the data and facilitating educational resources aimed at building skills among youth to understand and analyze the data and help influence healthy norms among their peers.

Along with these resources, the Rise Above team can offer targeted technical assistance services to implement the campaign, from the nuts and bolts of setting up social media, to adapting and facilitating educational resources. For more information on utilizing On The Rise in your local community, please fill out this information request form and a member of our team will be in touch with you.

Connect with Rise Above

Add to the Rise Above story by following us on our social media sites or emailing us at Share the ways that your community is promoting behavioral health and wellness so we can add your community’s strengths to the #IRiseAbove movement through social media. Photographs are always welcome! Sign up for our newsletter below.





Other resources for communities and individuals interested in preventing teen substance misuse include:

  • The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is a voluntary survey that collects anonymous, self-reported health information from middle and high school students across Colorado. The bi-annual survey results about a variety of health topics are available on a statewide level, or by health statistics region.
  • Colorado has taken the lead on preventing the prescription drug misuse epidemic. Read the Governor’s plan.
  • As a part of this plan, the Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, housed out of the University of Colorado’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy, coordinates the statewide response through education, public outreach, research, safe disposal, and treatment. The Consortium also offers the Consortium Prescription Drug Abuse Data Dashboard. Rise Above actively participates in the Public Awareness workgroup. To help support communities and organizations looking for strategies and tools to address the opioid and prescription drug misuse crisis, the Consortium has developed a Community Reference.
  • provides the information and tools to educate the public on the safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription drugs.
  • Also funded through the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health, the OMNI Institute’s Regional Prevention Services offers training, consultation, and technical assistance to build the capacity of prevention organizations, and Peer Assistance Services offers prevention resources for parents and caregivers.


The list below also includes additional resources specific to caregivers interested in engaging with young people in preventing substance misuse:

  • The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids supports families and engages with teens to reduce substance misuse. Their resources include a parent toolkit to learn the facts about the teen brain and drug use, and tips for engaging in conversations around making healthy choices. They’ve also put together a comprehensive resource for families who have a teen or young adult who is struggling with opioid misuse.
  • SpeakNow!, a project of the Colorado Department of Human Services’ Office of Behavioral Health, provides evidence-based information and resources to parents and caregivers regarding youth substance misuse prevention in Colorado, supporting adults to have productive conversations about substance use with youth. Resources are also available in Spanish at:
  • Good to Know Colorado from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also provides resources specific to retail marijuana in Colorado, including information about youth prevention. Good to Know Colorado now has a four-step Bucket List activity kit that includes everything adult mentors and youth facilitators need to lead a productive discussion about marijuana.

Get Help


Are you feeling weighed down by pressures and don't know what to do? It might help if you talked to someone. There are a lot of great resources online. Here are just a few to get you started.

Get help immediately by calling 1-800-448-3000 (24 hours a day / 7 days a week)

DO YOU OR A FRIEND NEED HELP DEALING WITH A DRUG OR ALCOHOL PROBLEM? offers a safe online space to anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens you, your friends, your family or community. You can also call 1-877-542-7233 or download the mobile app from Apple App Store or Google Play.
Launch Safe2Tell

Above the Influence
Above the Influence website helps teens stand up to negative pressures, or influences. The more aware you are of the influences around you, the better prepared you will be to face them, including the pressure to use drugs, pills, and alcohol. We're not telling you how to live your life, but we are giving you another perspective and the latest facts.

Drug Facts
Get quick facts about drug risks.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Get more facts about the science behind drugs and addiction.


When Your Parents Use Drugs
Learn more about your parent’s drug use and answers to questions you might have.

The Medicine Abuse Project
The Medicine Abuse Project website encourages parents, stakeholders and the public to take action: first, by talking with their kids about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and second, by safeguarding and properly disposing of unused medications.

For more information and help.

Your parent can call SAMHSA for help.
Call 1-800-662-HELP(4357), 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Need free drug information or treatment in your area?
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
For free resources or referrals to treatment, visit SAMSHA website to download information or to speak to someone now, call the help line. Call 1-800-662-HELP, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.


Boys Town National Hotline
Boys Town National Hotline is a 24-hour crisis, resource and referral line staffed by highly-trained counselors who can respond to your questions about family and school problems, pregnancy, suicide, chemical dependency, sexual and physical abuse. They also have a chat room staffed with trained counselors.Call 1-800-448-3000, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Covenant House "NineLine" Hotline
This is a general hotline for teens with any kind of problem from substance abuse to family and school problems to relationships, The Covenant House's expertise is in dealing with homeless and runaway youth.
Call 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

S.A.F.E. Alternatives
Self-injury is known by many names, including self-abuse, cutting, self-mutilation, or deliberate self-harm. S.A.F.E. Alternatives is a nationally recognized group that provides counseling, treatment referrals, and resources if you need help. This toll-free 800 number is an information line, but hotline information is available on the S.A.F.E. website.
Call 1-800-DONTCUT (366-8288), Available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
The goal of this site, provided by the Office of Women’s Health, is to provide advice to girls to help them remain healthy physically and mentally. The site provides useful information on health issues, relationships, nutrition, and dealing with stress.

Cool Spot
This Web site is focused on helping younger teens get the facts on underage drinking and avoiding alcohol. The site is provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).