What is iDECIDE?
iDECIDE (Drug Education Curriculum: Intervention, Diversion, and Empowerment), is a drug education curriculum developed to provide behavioral support and psychoeducation for middle and high school students. The program is designed to serve as a secondary prevention effort for youth at risk for escalation to problematic substance use and as an alternative to suspension, expulsion, and other exclusionary practices for school-based substance use infractions. iDECIDE provides schools and communities the resources to empower students to engage in healthy decision making. iDECIDE is not a cessation program, and is not meant to be used in lieu of treatment.
Why did we develop this program?
There is an urgent need to define reasonable and effective school responses to student substance use infractions. To work towards this goal, it is essential that responses focus on the mental health and wellbeing of students and not on punishing behavior. Additionally, traditional exclusionary practices disproportionately impact low-income and black students. The iDECIDE curriculum provides an equitable response to infractions and promotes the future success of all students.
Who developed this program?
This program was developed by the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Institute for Health and Recovery (IHR). Student and school stakeholder feedback was gathered at multiple points during development.
Who was this program developeded for?
iDECIDE was developed for middle and high school students who use substances. The content is not specific to a single substance since some students may use multiple substances and using one substance increases the risk of using additional substances.
Is iDECIDE evidence-based?
The curriculum was developed with close attention to best practices and evidence- based practices in the scientific literature. Schools across Massachusetts are participating in an evaluation to measure the effectiveness of iDECIDE. Outcomes of this evaluation will be made available on our website and the program will be updated as guided by the data.
Is iDECIDE relevant for students using all forms of substances?
Yes, iDECIDE is agnostic to the specific substance(s) used by the participant.
What is the structure of the iDECIDE program?
iDECIDE is a 4-session (approx. 1 hour each) program that includes videos, discussion, activities, and on-your-own assignments. The sessions are structured to be conducted in either a group or individual format.
Is the timing of the program sessions flexible?
We recommend that the program be administered in 4 sessions. Ideally, modules will be delivered once per week for approximately 4 weeks. It is important that students are enrolled in the first session as proximal to the point of infraction as possible. However, if this does not work for your school, please speak with your iDECIDE coach about ways to modify the curriculum so that it fits the needs of your school.
How many times can a student be enrolled in iDECIDE?
This program may be appropriate for a student to re-enroll in. However, we recommend trying a different format to better meet the student’s needs. For example, if the student was first enrolled in a group, they may benefit from more individualized attention the second time around. Remember that this is not intended to be a tier 3 cessation program and thus additional referrals may be necessary if a student is not responding to the iDECIDE curriculum.
What languages will the program be available in?
Currently, the program is available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. If you have additional specific language requests, please let us know so we can prioritize it.
When will this program be available for us to implement?
Please contact the iDECIDE team to determine when this program will be available for your community at .
What are the resources required to be able to implement iDECIDE in our school or community?
iDECIDE was developed with sustainability and scalability in mind to be able to meet the needs of a diverse range of schools and communities. Schools designate someone to be a trained facilitator and once they complete the free training, facilitators will have access to all the resources.
Do I need to be a clinician to be an iDECIDE facilitator?
No. The iDECIDE Facilitator Training Program was developed taking all backgrounds into consideration.
How will facilitators be trained?
Facilitators can volunteer to sign up or be assigned by their school or community program. The training is one-day, in-person and each site also receives support from an assigned iDECIDE to help with implementation. If you or someone you know might be interested in signing up for facilitator training, please contact us at .
Is there a cost for training to be an iDECIDE facilitator or for bringing iDECIDE to our school.
No. iDECIDE is funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. There is no cost for training or bringing the iDECIDE program to your school.
Will facilitators be able to access the curriculum materials before the training?
No. Facilitators will receive a copy of the facilitator manual and participant workbook during their initial training. During the training they will also receive access and training on our learning management system that will be used to enroll and deliver the program to students. If your team would like a preview of these materials, please reach out to the iDECIDE team and we can set up a zoom viewing session.
What trainings will be offered outside of Massachusetts?
At this time, we do not have any trainings scheduled outside of MA. However, please contact us at to inquire further about future virtual trainings.
Will the School-Wide Assessment take place if the school has not yet been trained in iDECIDE?
Yes! The school-wide assessment would take place in the fall of each year, regardless of when a school is trained in the curriculum.
Is the website and learning management system disability accessible?
iDECIDE is committed to making our resources available to everyone. Content was developed based on WCAG and ARIA specifications. If you have any questions about our accessibility features or if you are in any need of assistance, please email us at , or call us at 617-643-3575.
Who should we contact if we have further questions?
If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to .
Who is Funding the Development and Evaluation of iDECIDE?
iDECIDE is funded by a Cooperative Agreement to MGH from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Youth & Young Adult Services’ federal award by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
If you would like updates on the iDECIDE program, please email us at or follow us on social media on Twitter @iDECIDEteam or on Instagram @project_idecide.