Massachusetts - HE K-12 curriculum—alcohol and drug use/abuse (MS): Curricula

Policy Type: 
statute; standard

State law addresses alcohol and drug use/abuse.

General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 69. Section 1D : Statewide educational goals: academic standards

The standards shall provide for instruction in the issues of nutrition and exercise. The standards may provide for instruction in the issues of physical education, human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome education, violence prevention, including teen dating violence, bullying prevention, conflict resolution and drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse prevention.

General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 71. Section 96: Substance use prevention and abuse education policies for public schools

Section 96: Each public school shall have a policy regarding substance use prevention and the education of its students about the dangers of substance abuse. The school shall notify the parents or guardians of all students attending the school of the policy and shall post the policy on the school's website. The policy, and any standards and rules enforcing the policy, shall be prescribed by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school.

The department of elementary and secondary education, in consultation with the department of public health, shall provide guidance and recommendations to assist schools with developing and implementing effective substance use prevention and abuse education policies and shall make such guidance and recommendations publicly available on the department’s website. Guidance and recommendations may include educating parents or guardians on recognizing warning signs of substance abuse and providing available resources. Guidance and recommendations shall be reviewed and regularly updated to reflect applicable research and best practices.

Each school district and charter school shall file its substance use prevention and abuse education policies with the department of elementary and secondary education in a manner and form prescribed by the department.

General Laws of Massachusetts Chapter 71. Section 1: Maintenance; double sessions; subjects; twelve-month school year

In connection with physiology and hygiene, instruction as to the effects of alcoholic drinks and of stimulants, including tobacco, and narcotics on the human system, as to tuberculosis and its prevention, as to detection and prevention of breast and uterine cancer, and as to fire safety, including instruction in the flammable qualities of certain fabrics, and as to the prevention and treatment of burn injuries, shall be given to all pupils in all schools under public control, except schools maintained solely for instruction in particular subject areas.

Massachusetts Comprehensive Health Curriculum Framework

Tobacco, Alcohol, & Substance Use/Abuse Prevention:

Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Use/Abuse Prevention addresses safe and unsafe substances, effects on the body and health, and drug dependence. This area deals with critical thinking to incorporate accurate, relevant information into health-enhancing decisions and taking responsibility for one’s health. This includes skills such as how to negotiate, refusal skills, and how to seek assistance for abuse and addiction. Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Use/Abuse Prevention provides information and skills training to promote good health for self, peers, family members, the school, and the larger community.

The use of tobacco, alcohol, and other substances is quite prevalent among young people and has major implications for the health of individuals and society. Tobacco use continues to be the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, while alcohol and other drug use also cause significant morbidity and exact a high social cost. Appropriate use of medications and avoidance of dangerous substances require an understanding about the benefits and risks of these substances, responsible personal conduct, and enhanced health decision-making that address the influence of peers, the family, and society. Health education provides appropriate information about behaviors related to substance use and abuse. Topics generally covered in Tobacco, Alcohol, and Other Substance Use/Abuse Prevention include: Effects on the Body and Healthy Decisions.

PreK–12 Standard 10: Tobacco, Alcohol, & Substance Use/Abuse Prevention

Students will acquire the knowledge and skills to be competent in making health-enhancing decisions regarding the use of medications and avoidance of substances, and in communicating about substance use/abuse prevention for healthier homes, schools, and communities.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

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