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Substance Abuse Prevention

GUIDE has used data-driven, evidenced-based strategies since 1986 to reduce and prevent the use, misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by focusing on environmental strategies to achieve community-level change. In the past, we have made significant strides in reducing inhalant use, tobacco use and second hand smoke and underage drinking. GUIDE follows SAMHSA‘s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) for all strategic planning. In addition, we utilize local, state and national data to drive our decision making and planning.

Underage Drinking

Retail AvailabilityGUIDE has focused significantly on reducing underage drinking since 2000 when we saw a substantial increase in teen drinking. Early on, we adopted the evidence-based program, Communities Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol (CMCA), and mobilized a community task force that implemented a number of critical environmental strategies. In 2007, GUIDE partnered with the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, a Drug Free Communities coalition, to further these efforts. This partnership still continues today.

In 2011, GUIDE was selected as one of 41 statewide providers to participate in the Georgia Alcohol Prevention Project (APP). Locally, GUIDE is focusing on the goal of reducing access to alcohol and binge drinking among 9-20 year olds in Gwinnett County. The Gwinnett Alcohol Prevention Project group (GAPP) is made up of volunteers who assist us in planning, implementing and evaluating strategies. These include adults representing various sectors of the community and our Youth Advisory Board. Our Youth Advisory Board, along with Gwinnett Youth Action Teams, provide a youth voice in all aspects of our project and assures that we include youth-friendly strategies. Peer-to-peer activities have been shown to make the greatest impact on changing actual behaviors.

Retail Availability

Retail availability refers to alcohol being sold to anyone under 21. We address this with the following strategies: compliance checks (funded by DFC and APP), distribution of warning signs to alcohol establishments, strengthening administrative penalties, advocating for mandatory handler’s permits, training for all employees who serve and/or handle alcohol and advocating for an increase in the state’s alcohol excise tax.

Social Availability

Social availability refers to alcohol being given to anyone under 21, which includes provision to minors by adults and the availability of unsupervised places to drink. It is an issue in Gwinnett County because recent data suggests youth are accessing alcohol in their homes and in the homes of friends. We address this with the following strategies: advocating for social host ordinances; warning signage in retail establishments; and utilizing the Parents Are the Key, Parents Who Host Lose the Most, Save Brains and other campaigns to increase awareness about the consequences of underage and binge drinking. We also create PSAs for the Motor Vehicle Network to be displayed in the Lawrenceville DMV, as well as for TV Gwinnett.

Positive Social Norms

In Gwinnett, youth believe that most teens drink, and adults think that most parents let their kids drink. Local data shows that neither is true. Since social norms often drive behaviors, our positive social norms campaigns aim to correct the misperceptions of these norms. GUIDE is currently working on data-driven social norms campaigns to address these concerns within Gwinnett County and the local school system.

Public Awareness Campaigns

Parents Who HostWe use public awareness campaigns to educate the community and give an overview of issues concerning alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. In addition to developing campaigns based on local needs and data, we also often promote campaigns developed by state and national organizations that we think would benefit our community.

We intentionally involve youth in the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of campaigns and related materials to assure they relate to this important target audience.

If you would like to order campaigns materials, please contact us for more information.


Save Brains

The Save Brains campaign provides information about the adolescent brain, its maturation process and the negative and irreversible damage alcohol use causes.

Parents Who Host Lose the Most

This social host campaign provides information about the consequences and penalties of providing alcohol to minors at home, at parties and during celebrations.

Alcohol Free Gets Me

The Alcohol Free Gets Me is an alcohol awareness campaign is based on the PhotoVoice model to showcase personal goals, dreams and wants that youth identify and believe would be attainable if they remain alcohol free.

Safe and Sober Prom

This campaign targets high school students during prom season. Youth Action Teams and schools partner to share information and alternative activities to promote safe and sober prom celebrations and prevent alcohol-related problems.

Tobacco Free Babies

The Tobacco Free Babies campaign explains the importance of reducing pre-natal and infant/child exposure to secondhand smoke.

Other Substance Abuse Prevention

MarijuanaGUIDE collaborates with several local and state-wide initiatives to address marijuana and prescription drug misuse and abuse. We also increase awareness by disseminating the latest information via social media and sharing of materials developed by other agencies.


GUIDE works in various capacities to create peer-to-peer marketing strategies that dispel perceptions of peer acceptance and increase perceptions of harm from marijuana use. Our Youth Advisory Board has taken the lead on marijuana prevention strategies associated with the Gwinnett Coalition’s DFC grant, which includes conducting environmental scans, raising awareness of 4/20 observances and creating a PSA to share the harms of marijuana use.

GUIDE is a member of the newly established state-wide collaborative of the Georgia Marijuana Abuse Prevention Initiative (GMJAPI). This collaborative focuses on preventing and reducing marijuana abuse among Georgia’s youth, young adults and workforce.

GUIDE also educates the public about the harms of marijuana use via social media and news outlets.

Prescription Drugs

GUIDE participates in Take Back campaigns (coordinated by DEA to collect unused and expired Rx drugs) and educates the public regarding drop box locations. Gwinnett County has four prescription drug disposal boxes for drop off.

GUIDE is a member of the state-wide collaborative of the Georgia Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Initiative (GPDAPI). This collaborative focuses on preventing and reducing prescription drug abuse in Georgia.