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For Providers

We offer information for providers and community members with an interest in supporting substance use disorder services for adolescents, young adults, and their families. Illinois Family Resources is available to provide technical assistance, in-services workshops and trainings.

A Dangerous Mix

September 2019

desktop-3289272_1920.jpgMany teens regularly take medications and over-the-counter drugs. They may not know that mixing substances can cause unexpected and dangerous effects. Those risks are even greater when alcohol and illicit drugs are involved. If you are a human service provider that collaborates with your area schools in substance use disorder prevention here is a new (2019) resource for you. In a collaboration with the National Institute on Drug Abuse for Teens (NIDA), Scholastic’s has developed a lesson plan called A Dangerous Mix. By sharing the student article “A Dangerous Mix,” teaching the lesson, and handing out the activity sheet, educators will help students be smart about medicine safety. This lesson plan is adapted to fourth grade and up. Whether you deliver the lesson yourself or provide the resource to your area educators, this is an important part of addressing the prescription abuse our communities are experiencing. Help keep our youth informed and safe. The materials are available to download at:

Adolescent Substance Use, Addiction, and Treatment: A TAG Talk

January 2019


During this time of concern about the opioid addiction crisis and the research on the brain development of young adults, the following resource may provide an opportunity to train your staff, learn more about the issues of today’s youth and provide ongoing help as you work in your communities and with youth. The U.S. Office of Adolescent Health has worked with an Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs and the Boston University School of Medicine staff from the addiction treatment clinic for teens and young adults at Boston Medical Center to develop a video. The video addresses substance use and addiction in adolescents and young adults. It offers the most effective approaches to treating addiction, including opioid addiction.

This video is the fourth in a series of TAG Talks and addresses substance use and addiction in adolescents and young adults. It shares the most effective approaches to treating addiction, including opioid addiction. The video is accompanied by two discussion guides, one for professionals and one for families, citations, and additional resources for interested viewers.

You may link to this resource at:

“Not Fit for Human Consumption”: A Lesson Guide

December 2018

chemistry_poison.pngIn recent years, there has been a rise in the number of health emergencies and overdoses related to drugs that are made illegally in laboratories. These synthetic drugs are created in illegal labs to imitate the effects of other, more commonly known substances, such as marijuana or prescription pain medications. These unregulated drugs can be even more dangerous than their counterparts. Scholastic, in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), has developed a lesson plan that may be incorporated into current classroom curriculum or group work in treatment settings. The lesson, “Not Fit for Human Consumption”, supports the participants in learning about synthetic drugs—drugs created to mimic other drugs. This may include opioids (example: fentanyl), marijuana (examples: Spice, K2); and cathinones (example: “bath salts”). They also learn why synthetic drugs may be more dangerous than their counterparts and why they are so difficult to regulate.

To access this addition to your resources go to:

Coming Soon: Recovery Month

June 2018


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is sponsoring the 23rd National Recovery Month. Recovery Month focuses on increasing awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders. It is an opportunity to celebrate the people in recovery. Each September, thousands of prevention, treatment, and recovery programs and facilities around our country celebrate Recovery Month, giving those in recovery the opportunity share about the advances made and share their success stories.

The theme for Recovery Month 2018 is Join the Voices for Recovery: Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community. The 2018 theme explores how integrated care, a strong community, sense of purpose, and leadership contributes to effective treatments that support the recovery journey of persons with mental health and substance use disorders.

It is time to plan for your celebration. To help with this process, SAMHSA offers a Recovery Month Toolkit. To assist you in planning, check out the Toolkit available on the website: In addition, you will find logos, banners, flyers, and customizable posters to promote Recovery Month on social media, your website, and in your community at:

Join the millions celebrating recovery in September!! Become a “Voice for Recovery.”

The Illinois Opioid Action Plan

May 2018

ending_opiod_misuse_EOM_graphic.jpgAs this country faces the Opioid Epidemic, it is important for the human service providers and educators to have a good understanding of the strategies designed to address the issues in Illinois and in our communities. The causes of the epidemic are complex. Thus, the state government must work with everyone. That includes health care providers, local agencies, law enforcement, community groups, and individual citizens, all working toward a solution.

To meet this need, the Illinois Opioid Action Plan was developed. The Plan is the strategic framework for the future work. The Plan was finalized in September 2017. It focuses on three pillars that have six main priories and nine evidence-based strategies. The pillars are:

  • Prevention
  • Treatment and Recovery
  • Response

To begin the work ahead, you will find the Illinois Opioid Action Plan on the Illinois Department of Public Health website at:

Listed below are additional resources to use in your work of addressing the opioid crisis.

Together we can make a difference.

Synthetic Cannabinoid Outbreak

April 2018

synthetic_cannabinoids_infographic.jpgAs many providers are aware, there has been a recent concern related to the known adverse reactions to using synthetic cannabinoids believed to be laced with rat poison. Between April 24, 2018 and March 7, 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has documented over 153 cases. This includes four deaths since March 7, 2018. The individuals reported the synthetic cannabinoid products, such as K2, spice, marijuana and legal weed, were obtained from convenience stores or dealers or friends. These products are sold for recreational use and marketed to the user as generating similar effects of cannabis.

As a human service provider, it is important to warn our communities and our consumers about the danger of these products that are being peddled as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. If you have not reviewed the information provided by the IDPH, please visit their website. The website is updated daily at 1:30 p.m. and the update will continue as long as the outbreak is occurring. The site also has infographics that can be posted and other websites that can be shared to help inform and educate. To make use of the information, link to the following:

To assist you, the provider, in distributing the information into communities, you are encouraged to link onto the tools provided on the IDPH website. To access colorful and informative posters that you may print and distribute, visit: Help create a safer environment.

What are They Thinking?

March 2018

brain_cell.jpgDo you sometimes wonder what is going on with the teens and young adults you work with? Do you get frustrated because they are not using their “brain” to make appropriate decisions? Do you try to justify that they are old enough to know how to behave in a healthier manner? Well… take a deep breath and read about a great resource for understanding how and why the “brain” of these young people is not working as you may believe it should.

With all the newer research regarding how the brain neurons grow and develop, we, as professionals, can begin to adjust our expectations of teens and young adults within our treatment services for Substance Use Disorder and mental health issues. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health, worked in collaboration with the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs and the Penn Translational Neuroscience Center Co-Director Dr. Frances Jensen in developing a video and discussion guides about the adolescent brain development research. The video, The Power of the Adolescent Brain: A TAG Talk, is motivated by her parenting of teens, clinical experience and research. Dr. Jensen shares what researchers have discovered about young adult brain development, functioning and capacity. She provides practical ideas for providers and families in dealing with young people.

The video can be viewed in full length format or in six segments for individual viewing or for group viewing. There are two discussion guides for professionals and for families that support the video. To access these resources, go to:

Managing Trauma

February 2018

frowning_face.jpgRecent traumatic events in our country have created stressful and worrisome times for students, schools and parents alike. As a human service field, it is important that providers and agencies are prepared to address the trauma and support the healing process. An important strategy providers to use in the effort to help is to bolster resilience in our young people. This is especially true for teens and young adults who have lived through a traumatic or threatening experience. In response to this need, the website has compiled the following list of federal resources for those who work with our young population:

  • Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Each agency provides several resources to help address the needs of our teens and young adults in these stressful times. To access the resources, link to:

Plan Now!!

August 2017

plan_graphic.jpgThe next National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW) will be held Jan. 22-28, 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) sponsors NDAFW as an annual, week-long series of educational events that brings together teens and scientific experts to SHATTER THE MYTHS about substance use and addiction. NIDA and NIAAA announced that local event registration begins today for the annual event. NIDA and NIAAA are both part of the National Institutes of Health.

NDAFW events can be held by an assortment of organizations that may include agencies, organizations, schools, community groups, sports clubs, and hospitals. Activities can focus on general drug use or on specific issues of concern in individual communities. To register your event go to:

Learning Tool to Enhance Group Activities

February 2017

  • Do you facilitate a group as part of substance abuse treatment?
  • Do you struggle with how to keep the participants actively engaged?
  • Do you teach a health education class that addresses substance abuse issues?

If your answer is YES, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has developed a new BINGO GAME activity to be used by teachers and group facilitators. It was offered as an activity to use during the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). The NDAFW week was held last month but to support ongoing efforts, the NDAFW web page posted the new BINGO GAME for ongoing use in the classroom and group setting. The game, instead of displaying the words BINGO at the top, uses the five letters NDAFW. Using the same process as traditional Bingo, the activity leader will call out a vocabulary word, rather than a number, and read the description that follows. If the player has the word under the correct letter, that space is covered. The point of the game is to educate players about certain topics and facts related to drug and alcohol use in an interesting and fun manner. The game continues until a player has a winning “BINGO” pattern. To liven up your group and enhance learning, download the NIDA game from:

Support National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week

January 2017


It’s not too late to be a part of the National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW). The week is a national health observance week for teens that promotes local educational activities and events. The week is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). It uses NIDA science based information to SHATTER THE MYTHS about drugs. Take advantage of the learning opportunities for the young people in your community and become a participant in the week’s activities. Try the new, fun activity: NDAFW BINGO! To access the NDAFW BINGO and many other fun learning resources, link on to