Vermont Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program
The Youth Substance Abuse Safety Program (YSASP) provides an alternative to the civil court process for youth who violate Vermont’s underage alcohol or marijuana laws. YSASP helps young people to understand the impact on themselves and others of using substances and to lower their risk of future use, while connecting those identified as using at high-risk levels to professional substance use clinicians.
The Youth Substance Abuse Program is based on Vermont law and guided by criminal justice and adolescent substance use intervention research. Our focus is on the health of young people.
Key components of the program for both alcohol and marijuana violations are:
1) Screening for the likelihood of an individual having a substance use problem
2) Using information provided by the youth to engage with him/her in a brief educational intervention, designed to raise the young person’s awareness of the risks of substance use and reduce his/her risk of harm.
Youth who are found to be at higher risk for substance use will be asked to meet with a licensed substance use clinician for an assessment. This approach, known as Screening, Brief Intervention & Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), is supported by the Vermont Department of Health’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs. Research supports the effectiveness of this approach.
Vermont law provides an opportunity for young people under age 21 to participate in the Youth Substance Use Safety Program as an alternative to a civil adjudication and fine for violating the law regarding misrepresenting one’s age, procuring, possessing, or consuming alcohol beverages, and for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana. Vermont Statutes may be found at this site: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/