Grants and Prevention Programs

SAMHSA Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant

Rhode Island Substance Abuse Prevention Act (RISAPA) – promotes comprehensive prevention programming at the community level. 34 municipal task forces, covering 38 cities and towns, engage in local needs assessments. They use a data-driven, decision-making framework for planning, implementing evidence-based practices, and evaluating strategies, policies and programs to produce long-term reductions in substance misuse and abuse.

BHDDH Contact: Elizabeth Farrar 401-462-0644;

Rhode Island Student Assistance – is a school-based alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention/early intervention program which uses the SAMHSA/CSAP (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention) evidence-based program Project Success (formerly Westchester Student Assistance Program). It is available in 44 middle and high schools throughout the State and implemented by masters-level counselors.

BHDDH Contact: Elizabeth Farrar 401-462-0644;

Primary Prevention Services: Reducing the Use of Marijuana and Other Drugs (MOD) – Data determined the need for BHDDH to address marijuana and other drug use within nine communities (Woonsocket, Warren, South Kingstown, Pawtucket, Tiverton, Central Falls, Chariho, Gloucester, Barrington) by implementing evidence-based programs listed in SAMHSA's Registry addressing all six Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) strategies. The University of Rhode Island performs process and outcome evaluations to insure that the program is being implemented to the standards of evidence-based programming. The University collaborates with the State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) for planning purposes.

BHDDH Contact: Elizabeth Farrar 401-462-0644;

Rhode Island Prevention Resource Center (RIPRC) – provides training and technical assistance resources for Rhode Island substance abuse prevention providers. The Center fosters State and local collaboration to prevent substance use and other risk-taking behaviors in Rhode Island. The website, includes a calendar of upcoming training/events, fact sheets, and a private provider portal with login accessibility.

Prevention Advisory Committee (PAC) – is a permanent committee on the Governor's Council for Behavioral Health. The purpose of the PAC is to make prevention recommendations to the Council that will be included in the annual report sent to the Governor and to the federal government's Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant. The primary goal of the PAC is to strengthen the prevention workforce in Rhode Island. Sandra Delsesto and Sarah Dinklage are the PAC Co-chairs.

Discretionary Grants

Rhode Island Strategic Prevention Framework Partnership for Success (PFS) – the PFS provides funding, which is administered by BHDDH, to twelve communities to reduce underage drinking and youth marijuana use in Rhode Island. Rhode Island is one of sixteen states that received an award from the SAMHSA/Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to fund high-need communities. The funds will be used to implement evidence-based practices, policies and programs to prevent substance use. The PFS communities are: Burrillville, Cranston, Cumberland, Foster, Johnston, Lincoln, Little Compton, Newport, New Shoreham, Providence, Scituate and Westerly.

BHDDH Contact: Candace Rodgers 401-462-1829;

  • The Evidence-Based Practices Workgroup provides guidance to the Prevention Advisory Committee of the RI Governor's Council on Behavioral Health regarding the use of evidence-based practices for the delivery of behavioral healthcare services within Rhode Island. The workgroup membership is drawn from various behavioral health disciplines and includes experts in behavioral health research, epidemiology and evaluation as well as behavioral health promotion and prevention providers. The charge of the workgroup is twofold: (1) develop guidelines for ascertaining whether a given practice, policy or program meets existing standards for evidence- based practices in behavioral healthcare; and (2) identify a process by which an innovative or locally- developed behavioral healthcare practice, policy or program can be designated as an evidence-based practice in RI.
  • State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) - leads data-driven planning and decision- making for the purposes of State and community-level planning for prevention of substance use and abuse, and mental wellness and their impact across the State of Rhode Island. With BHDDH-administered authority, the Department of Community Health at Brown University performs epidemiological analyses and the University of Rhode Island Department of Psychology provides prevention evaluation services for BHDDH. With the advent of PFS money, SEOW will continue its efforts until September, 2018.

State Tobacco Compliance Inspection Program ("Synar Program")

Section 1926 of the 1992 Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Reorganization Act (PL 102-321) ("Synar Amendment") named after its sponsor, Rep. Mike Synar (D-OK, deceased), imposes certain requirements on states as a condition for receipt of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant. The Synar Amendment requires states to:

  • Have in place and enforce a state statute prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to children under the age of 18;
  • On an annual basis (by 9/30 of each year), conduct a statewide, unannounced survey of a random sample of over-the-counter and vending machine tobacco retailers to determine retailer compliance with the youth access statute;
  • Maintain a statewide retailer violation rate under 20%;
  • Submit an annual report detailing the activities the state has undertaken to enforce the state's youth tobacco access statute (Annual Synar Report);
  • Include in the annual report a description of other activities the state has undertaken to reduce youth access to tobacco products (e.g., vendor and community education)
  • Every 3-5 years, conduct a "coverage study" to determine the completeness and accuracy of the retailer list used to draw the annual random survey sample.

BHDDH, with assistance from the Division of Taxation and municipal police departments, oversees the conduct of the annual Synar Survey and on-going enforcement of the State's statute prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to underage children. Since 1998, consistent with State statute (RIGL 11-9-13) inspection and enforcement provisions, BHDDH has contracted with municipal police departments and the State Police to assist in conducting the annual Synar Survey and engage in on-going enforcement efforts.

BHDDH Contact: Maureen Mulligan 401-462-3051;

FDA Tobacco Compliance Inspection Program

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Tobacco Compliance Inspection Program is performed through a contract between the FDA and the State of RI (represented by BHDDH) to enforce certain provisions of the federal 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act ("TCA"). BHDDH contracts with municipal police departments to provide officers who are commissioned by the FDA to conduct undercover buy attempts at licensed retail tobacco outlets utilizing trained minors. Inspections conducted to determine retailer compliance with TCA advertising and labeling restrictions on regulated tobacco products are conducted by BHDDH staff.

BHDDH Contact: Maureen Mulligan 401-462-3051;