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Higher Education Alcohol and Drug Strategic Unified Prevention (HEADS UP)

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College is generally a time in life of newfound independence and freedom from parental supervision. One major decision many students are faced with is the choice to experiment with alcohol and other drugs due to curiosity, perceived behaviors of their peers and additional influences within their campus-community.

The Higher Education Alcohol and Drug Strategic Unified Prevention (HEADS UP) program informs and equips faculty/staff, students and parents to effectively promote healthy decision-making and advocate for substance misuse education and prevention programming on campuses. HEADS UP provides a series of trainings, resources, and materials to increase knowledge of substance misuse and high-risk drinking among faculty/staff, students and their parents, and for faculty/staff to build the capacity of student leaders to hold substance misuse education or awareness events.


HEADS UP offers online training that is provided to increase the capacity of campuses to address high-risk drinking. Learn more and get started with the Virginia ABC Education and Prevention online training registration process today.

Available Training:

  • Building a Campus/Community Coalition to Address High Risk and Underage Drinking
  • Alcohol Basics Training for Students

Networking and Resources

With the goal of supporting campus efforts, HEADS UP offers a number of educational resources that provide information on various topics related to substance abuse.


  • Basics of Alcohol Education Guide (PDF): This toolkit provides information for any group, organization or individual to use during trainings, activities and events. It provides facts on the risks and harms associated with alcohol and steps for making safe and healthy decisions.
  • Tips for Planning Your Alcohol Awareness Event (PDF): A great way to support your alcohol education initiatives is through sponsoring a resource fair. We’ve provided a few tips for planning your alcohol awareness event.
  • Community College Resource Guide for Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Prevention (PDF): Virginia's community colleges face unique challenges in the education and prevention of substance misuse due to their structure, availability of resources and diverse population of non-residential students. This guide provides resources that can be helpful in addressing substance misuse and linking students to supportive community partners.

Training Materials

  • Basics of Alcohol Training (PPTX): This training is intended to help make students aware of Virginia law, common myths about alcohol and how to make healthy and responsible decisions.
  • Basics of Alcohol Training Lesson Plan (PDF): Our lesson plan includes learning objectives, additional resources and a script to help you facilitate the Basics of Alcohol Training for students on your campus.

Promotional Materials

HEADS UP provides free promotional materials for institutions of higher education and community organizations working with college students.




  • Want to engage your students while providing information about responsible decision making? These trivia cards (PDF) are great to use during a health fair or classroom training!

Additional Virginia ABC Resources

Publications: Our College and 21 and Older publications are free to order and download.

Grants: Alcohol Education and Prevention Grants assist community partners in developing and enhancing initiatives related to alcohol education and prevention.

Project Sticker Shock: This community awareness program is designed to prevent people 21 and older from purchasing alcohol and providing it to underage individuals.

Other Resources

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: NIAAA supports and conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being. It is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world.

The College Alcohol Intervention Matrix: CollegeAIM can help schools choose interventions wisely—boosting their chances for success and helping them improve the health and safety of their students.

Campus Drug Prevention: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides institutions of higher education and their surrounding communities with resources to prevent drug abuse among college students.

Virginia College Alcohol Leadership Council: VACALC offers leadership and professional advice regarding the prevention of high risk, hazardous alcohol and other drug-related behavior through collaboration, education, support, networking, mentoring, and advocacy.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and promotes responsible decision-making regarding alcoholic beverages.

Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students Initiatives: BACCHUS Initiatives is a collegiate peer education program that supports the achievement of students’ academic and personal success by building skills in student leaders to address campus health and safety issues.

Step UP!: Step UP! is a pro-social behavior and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others.

FailSafe: FailSafe is a web-based toolkit that engages and empowers student leaders to assess, manage, and reduce high risk drinking behaviors among members of their student organization.

Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery: The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Misuse Prevention and Recovery, in partnership with the nation’s colleges and universities, promotes student success nationally by providing data-driven solutions to alcohol and drug misuse, leads the dialogue on collegiate alcohol and drug misuse and recovery in the national agenda and ensure the long-term sustainability and effectiveness of the Center’s efforts.

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