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Youth Development


ADAPEP Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ADAPEP Program?

The ADAPEP program is a school-based substance abuse prevention program that has been serving districts in Onondaga and Madison Counties for 35 years. This program was created in 1971 by representatives from local school districts, Onondaga County Department of Mental Health, and OCM BOCES. Funds are received from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). These funds are then coupled with funds from local school districts to create the ADAPEP program.

Who do the ADAPEP counselors work for?


ADAPEP staff are employed by the district in which they work. Staff are often assigned to more than one building within a district. It is important that every counselor knows who his/her supervisor in every building in which he or she works.

Who supervises the ADAPEP staff?

  • ADAPEP staff are supervised/evaluated by the district in which they work. It is necessary for a district to make it clear to an ADAPEP staff person who his/her supervisor is, since moving among buildings can make it confusing for everyone.
  • Clinical supervision is provided during the afternoon of the monthly staff meeting day. Counselors meet for 1.5 hours in a small group which is supervised by one of four therapists.

Who decides what the ADAPEP counselor's role will be?

  • The District and the Program Director have the flexibility to determine the most beneficial way to use the ADAPEP staff position. Unlike other programs which enter the school with a fixed curriculum, ADAPEP can be tailored to meet the needs of each building because the ADAPEP counselor is a part of the school community.
  • When hiring an ADAPEP counselor, the district must keep in mind the role it wishes the counselor to assume, and then look for the appropriate set of qualifications. All hiring should include the Program Director's input.
  • A combination of education and counseling is usually provided for each building. Each counselor is encouraged to develop his/her program based on the current best practices and evidence based preveniton programs, keeping in mind the needs of each building they serve.

What kinds of activities are counselors involved with?

ADAPEP counselors provide activities at three levels: Universal, Selected, and Targeted.

  • Universal - Activities designed for universal populations prevent the onset of substance use and gambling, by reaching entire populations (whether national, local community, school, or neighborhood in scope) with messages and programs aimed at preventing the use of substances and gambling behavior. These universal prevention strategies increase public awareness, change community norms and help develop the social and other life skills necessary to prevent initiation of the problems.
  • Selective - Selective prevention activities target subsets of the total pupulation that are deemed to be at risk for substance use, abuse and/or problem gambling behavior by virtue of their membership in a particular population segment. Two examples of selective subgroups are: children of substance abusers or problem gambler and school dropouts. The selective prevention program is presented to the entire subgroup because as a whole they are at higher risk than the general population. An individual's personal risk is not specifically assessed or identified and is based solely on membership in the at-risk subgroup.
  • Indicated - Indicated prevention strategies are designed to reduce individually assessed risk factors and/or the use of substances and gambling behaviors. Indicated populations do not meet DSM-IV criteria for substance abuse or dependence, or pathological gambling, but they are exhibiting symptoms, such as substance use and/or gambling behaviors. The aim of indicated prevention programs is not only reduction in levels of substance use or gambling, but also the decrease in the length of time the signs continue, and/or reducing the need to refer to treatment services.
    • ADAPEP staff provide any or all of the following services: classroom instruction, small group work, peer leadership, counseling, parent consultation, and parent programs. Counseling services include activities such as: assessment, crisis intervention, and one to one counseling.
    • Depending upon the building needs and whether a counselor is stationed in one building or many, counselors may do all of the above activities or only one or two.

How is confidentiality different for ADAPEP staff?

ADAPEP counselors are bound by Federal regulations because ADAPEP is a drug abuse program. Records are protected by strict confidentiality guidelines, and information cannot be shared with anyone without written consent of the student. Please refer to the section on Confidentiality for specific information.

What is the Workplan and Workplan Review?

At the same time, each counselor is required to submit to the Program Director a review of the current year's workplan which includes an evaluation of his/her targeted outcomes. As with the workplan, these reviews are compiled and submitted by the Program Director.

How are the workplan and workplan review useful?

  • Preparing a review of one's work enables the counselor to assess the effectiveness of his/her program, and to determine which activities need to be enhanced or eliminated.
  • Preparing a workplan is important so that a counselor remains focused on his/her primary function of providing substance abuse prevention. OASAS expects that stated outcomes will be achieved.
  • It is important that counselors share this workplan with their district supervisors so that everyone understands the goals of the program and what activities will be conducted to achieve them.

Resiliency and Risk and Protective Factors

The ADAPEP program believes in the concept of resiliency and seeks to enhance students' protective factors while reducing their risk factors.

Does ADAPEP incorporate new research into its programs?

There has been much research done on risk and protective factors which influence a person's decision to use substances. ADAPEP utilizes an approach which considers risk and protective factors when providing services to students. Drawing from research done by Bonnie Benard, Nan Henderson, and Hawkins and Catalano, counselors strive to integrate theory into practice.

How Do Resiliency, Emotional Intelligence and Character Education manifest themselves in the ADAPEP Program?

There is a strong emphasis on resiliency building and character education. Through various activities, counselors seek to assist students to:

  • identify feelings and emotions
  • deal effectively with feelings and emotions
  • develop the ability to solve problems and make good decisions
  • develop the ability to productively cope with lifes stressors including: loss, disappointment, peer relationships,  family problems, school difficulties, or personal problems
  • develop insight into difficult situations and determine what is in their control and what is not
  • develop the ability to change bad situations into better ones
  • develop healthy alternatives for having fun
  • develop interpersonal skills
  • develop ability to work within a group
  • develop understanding, respect, and empathy for other people and systems

What about Peer Leadership and Service Learning

Many ADAPEP counselors have created Peer Leadership/Service activities such as leadership courses, tutoring, mentoring, volunteering, fund raising, etc. When students make important and meaningful contributions to the systems they are a part of, they begin to recognize their abilities and to develop an internal locus of control. Participating in these activities has also been shown to have a positive impact on school attendance, behavior and connectedness to school.

In June of each year, the ADAPEP program must submit a workplan to OASAS outlining what activities and outcomes the program will be focusing on for the upcoming year. In order to do this, each counselor is required to submit to the Program Director in May his/her workplan for the upcoming year. The Program Director then compiles them into one and submits it. activities are for those individuals who need intense services such as crisis intervention, assessment or one to one counseling. activities are for those individuals who need extra attention such as students who have experienced loss, divorcing parents, social problems, etc. activities are for the general population and include: assembly presentations, classroom lessons, newsletters, etc.

All ADAPEP staff must be prepared for a site visit from OASAS, Onondaga County Mental Health, or OCM BOCES because their records and workplan are subject to review by all three parties. Visits may or may not be announced.The OCM BOCES Program Director provides program supervision. Her role is to ensure that all ADAPEP staff are performing their duties in compliance with OASAS standards and regulations. The Program Director visits counselors, observes and gives feedback on classroom lessons or groups and reviews all records.