Hallways has been a resource for the Independent School Community in New York City for over 30 years. Through the years, we have evolved to ensure that we are providing our school partners with the most up-to-date, evidence-based, prevention services. Time and time again, we have worked with School Psychologists, advisors, administrators and parents struggling with how to prevent and address high-risk behaviors involving substances.
The Hallways Indicated Prevention Program (HIPP) was developed specifically to prevent and address early alcohol and drug use and experimentation, complementing our existing prevention work in the classrooms to provide school partners and families with a whole continuum of preventive care.
School personnel and caregivers can become aware of a young person’s substance use in many ways: a young person may arrive at a school event intoxicated, a parent or caregiver may find paraphernalia in their child’s room, or a school advisor may become aware of rumors that a young person is using on the weekends. In all of these instances, determining the best response is predicated on current levels of substance use, overall mental health, and environmental supports and stressors.
This is where HIPP comes in. We perform a thorough substance use and mental health screening using evidence-based assessment tools, clinical interviews, and lab-tested urinalysis. By doing so, we are able to see a young person’s functioning with a wide-angle lens to determine what supports are needed. Early substance use can be indicative of many things besides a substance use disorder and we want to make sure we identify and address them.
We determine not only the risk or presence of a substance use disorder, we can also identify underlying mental health disorders or environmental stressors such as family stressors, relational pressures, or academic struggles. By knowing what is really going on in a young person’s world, we are best equipped to provide families and schools further recommendations for services at Hallways, at school or through another provider.
Once a young person’s substance use is identified, proactive intervention is needed. HIPP can provide schools and families a blueprint of what to do next, so that adolescent experimentation does not escalate to substance addiction.
Katherine Prudente, MA, RDT, LCAT is Hallways’ Program Manager, Indicated Prevention, responsible for assisting schools and families when there is a young person engaging in risky substance use.