Educator resources

Rise Above Colorado offers educators interactive, engaging lessons to educate and equip teens with knowledge and skills to prevent substance misuse. These free and remotely accessible educational resources can be integrated into local curricula and prevention efforts in a way that is contextual and meaningful for every community. The resources are also designed to complement and reinforce Rise Above’s positive community norms campaign efforts, showcasing the hope and positivity among youth in our state.

The lessons are standards- and science-based and foster instructional strategies that are interactive, discussion-oriented, and skill-building. Instructional materials (e.g. facilitator guide, handouts, pre-post surveys) are provided for the educator or peer educator to lead rich and relevant discussions that promote teens’ behavioral health. All the resources listed below are suitable for middle and high school-aged youth. If you have any questions about these materials, email


Not Prescribed is a standards-based lesson that can be facilitated in 45-60 minutes, in person or remotely. The lesson provides teens with the science and stories to understand the risks of misusing prescription drugs, and the tools and resources to manage their own health as well as advocate for their peers’ health. It leverages personal testimony from teens and their families through a compelling video and provides educators with a science-based interactive presentation and facilitator’s guide to lead conversation and learning. The 6 Steps to Rise Above graphic organizer translates across substance- and health-issues, to help teens define their goals and practice refusal skills. Not Prescribed can also be used in a remote learning environment, offering adaptations that can be made for youth self-study and group discussion formats...

Launch the Not Prescribed Lesson

Materials include:
  • Facilitator’s Guide including glossary of key terms
  • Remote Adaptations Guide
  • 6 Steps to Rise Above graphic organizer
  • Sample surveys and assessments


Building on the Not Prescribed lesson, Media Smart Youth-Not Prescribed is a 13-lesson unit that can be delivered across 3-4 weeks. It explores the connections between media and drug use, fostering media literacy as an essential 21st Century skill for health, academic, and career success. The unit is adapted from The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! Program Packet (2005), a promising practice for obesity prevention.

Media Smart Youth – Not Prescribed Unit

Meth Prevention Lesson

This standards-based lesson can be facilitated in 45-60 minutes, in person or remotely. It equips teens with the facts, tools, and resources to understand the risks of methamphetamine and to positively influence their peers. This lesson leverages, the definitive source on meth, and provides teachers with engaging, easy-to-use materials including a facilitator’s guide and worksheet. The Meth Prevention Lesson has been adapted to be used in a remote learning environment, a guide to help facilitate this adaptation is below. Educators may also reference the Remote Adaptations Guide that provides instructions and guidance for assigning the lesson as a self-directed resource for youth to access on their own.

Launch the Meth Prevention Lesson

Materials include:




Utilizing data from the Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey that shows the vast majority of teens are not using substances, this lesson engages teens with data-driven discussions about media, perception, norms, and peer pressure to align our perceptions with reality and promote positive community norms. This lesson comes with a customizable presentation to include local data and a facilitator’s guide to help lead conversation and learning, and can be facilitated in 60 minutes, in person or remotely.

Closing the Gap (ppt)
Closing the Gap (pdf)
Closing the Gap Facilitator's Guide (pdf)


This newly revamped resource helps teens reflect on and practice what it means to be a good friend. It includes tips on effectively listening, having a conversation, and getting help, in addition to being a good friend online. The resource includes a handout as well as an activity guide. It can be used as a stand-alone lesson or supplement the Not Prescribed or Meth Prevention Lesson.

How to Be a Good Friend - Hand Out
How to Be a Good Friend - Activity Guide


This “by teens, for teens” website provides resources and inspires connection for an inspirational online community that supports teens in living a healthy life with purpose. All content was conceptualized, written, and edited by Rise Above’s Teen Action Council with support from Rise Above Colorado staff and Scientific Advisory Council members. The site focuses on How to Rise Above (a toolbox of research-based and youth-informed tips to cultivate strength and handle challenges), the Straight Dope (the real science and facts about various substances), and Together We Rise (teen-submitted stories and expressions of authenticity and hope). Educators can direct teens to this space for independent study and creative expression projects.

Submit to Together We Rise


Rise Above collaborates with youth, educators, and community partners across the state to build local capacity for youth substance misuse prevention, deliver educational resources, promote positive community norms, and support youth civic engagement. Rise Above’s strategic partnership development at the state and local levels helps promote statewide collective learning and impact in behavioral health promotion and Positive Youth Development.


The Fill Your World With Good campaign uses data-informed messages to align perceptions about youth substance use with reality and promote the positivity among youth in Colorado. The objective of the Fill Your World With Good campaign is to measurably impact teens’ attitudes towards substance use by closing the gap between perceived use and actual reported use, leveraging positive peer influence for healthy decision-making.

We offer a variety of opportunities for youth-serving organizations to actively engage in this campaign, from sharing the campaign content on your own platforms, to localizing the data and facilitating educational resources aimed at building skills among youth to understand and analyze the data and help influence healthy norms among their peers.

Along with these resources, Rise Above offers targeted technical assistance services to implement the campaign, from the nuts and bolts of setting up social media, to adapting and facilitating educational resources. For more information on utilizing Fill Your World With Good in your community, please email

Learn More


The Rise Above Colorado Youth Survey is a data source for behavioral health and substance use attitudes and behaviors among Colorado youth aged 12-17. The 2022 data of more than 700 youth is based on a representative sample of the entire state. The full survey, along with fact sheets about specific topics are available below:

Impacts of Adult Use
Female Teen Disparities
Fentanyl Findings

Download Survey Read Press Release

Community Based Murals

For more than a decade Rise Above Colorado has been building community connections through public art projects driven by youth. In more than 20 communities, Colorado young people have chosen themes of strength and resilience that they identify in their hometowns, with Rise Above’s team alongside helping those visions come to fruition.

Visit our Mural Map to see projects from across the state.

Connect with Rise Above

Encourage teens in your community to follow us on social media and use #IRiseAbove to highlight the healthy, positive activities that help them rise above substance misuse.

To learn more about Rise Above email us at and sign up for our newsletter.





Other resources for communities and individuals interested in preventing teen substance misuse include:

  • The Healthy Kids Colorado Survey is a widely-administered survey that collects anonymous, self-reported health information from middle and high school students across Colorado. The bi-annual survey about a variety of youth health topics are available on a statewide level, by health statistics region. Local community-level data is available to each participating school and/or district.
  • The Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, housed out of the University of Colorado’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy, coordinates a statewide response through education, public outreach, research, safe disposal, and treatment. The Consortium also offers the Consortium Prescription Drug Abuse Data Dashboard. Rise Above actively participates in the Public Awareness workgroup. To help support communities and organizations looking for strategies and tools to address the opioid and prescription drug misuse crisis, the Consortium has developed a Community Reference.
  • provides the information and tools to educate the public on the safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription drugs.
  • The OMNI Institute offers training, consultation, and technical assistance to build the capacity of prevention organizations across the state.
  • Illuminate Colorado collaborates with families and partners at the community, state, and national levels to develop and implement powerful programs, policies, and initiatives that keep kids safe in Colorado. Resources and training opportunities can be found on their website.
  • Forward Together Colorado is a collaboration between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) to help build and strengthen relationships between young people and the adults in their lives. Forward Together provides research and information on youth development, tips for parents and caregivers, and stories from other parents about how they’re connecting with their teens.
  • Responsibility Grows Here from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also provides resources specific to retail marijuana in Colorado, including information about youth prevention.
  • Generation Rx offers engaging resources that educate elementary aged children about medication safety principles and equips them with a foundation for understanding how to use medicines safely before they enter their teen and adult years.
  • The Partnership to End Addiction supports families impacted by addiction, mobilizing resources for systemic change at the national level.


Get Help


Are you feeling weighed down by pressures and don't know what to do? It might help if you talked to someone. There are a lot of great resources online. Here are just a few to get you started.

Get help immediately by calling 1-800-448-3000 (24 hours a day / 7 days a week)

DO YOU OR A FRIEND NEED HELP DEALING WITH A DRUG OR ALCOHOL PROBLEM? offers a safe online space to anonymously report anything that concerns or threatens you, your friends, your family or community. You can also call 1-877-542-7233 or download the mobile app from Apple App Store or Google Play.
Launch Safe2Tell

Above the Influence
Above the Influence website helps teens stand up to negative pressures, or influences. The more aware you are of the influences around you, the better prepared you will be to face them, including the pressure to use drugs, pills, and alcohol. We're not telling you how to live your life, but we are giving you another perspective and the latest facts.

Drug Facts
Get quick facts about drug risks.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Get more facts about the science behind drugs and addiction.


When Your Parents Use Drugs
Learn more about your parent’s drug use and answers to questions you might have.

The Medicine Abuse Project
The Medicine Abuse Project website encourages parents, stakeholders and the public to take action: first, by talking with their kids about the dangers of abusing prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and second, by safeguarding and properly disposing of unused medications.

For more information and help.

Your parent can call SAMHSA for help.
Call 1-800-662-HELP(4357), 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Need free drug information or treatment in your area?
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
For free resources or referrals to treatment, visit SAMSHA website to download information or to speak to someone now, call the help line. Call 1-800-662-HELP, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.


Boys Town National Hotline
Boys Town National Hotline is a 24-hour crisis, resource and referral line staffed by highly-trained counselors who can respond to your questions about family and school problems, pregnancy, suicide, chemical dependency, sexual and physical abuse. They also have a chat room staffed with trained counselors.Call 1-800-448-3000, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Covenant House "NineLine" Hotline
This is a general hotline for teens with any kind of problem from substance abuse to family and school problems to relationships, The Covenant House's expertise is in dealing with homeless and runaway youth.
Call 1-800-999-9999, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

S.A.F.E. Alternatives
Self-injury is known by many names, including self-abuse, cutting, self-mutilation, or deliberate self-harm. S.A.F.E. Alternatives is a nationally recognized group that provides counseling, treatment referrals, and resources if you need help. This toll-free 800 number is an information line, but hotline information is available on the S.A.F.E. website.
Call 1-800-DONTCUT (366-8288), Available Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
The goal of this site, provided by the Office of Women’s Health, is to provide advice to girls to help them remain healthy physically and mentally. The site provides useful information on health issues, relationships, nutrition, and dealing with stress.

Cool Spot
This Web site is focused on helping younger teens get the facts on underage drinking and avoiding alcohol. The site is provided by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).