What is SACY?

step SACY

Parents SACY

youth SACY

Teachers SACY

SACY 420 2016 document

SACY 420 2016 Parents

Quick Links:
- SACY Highlights from Final Evaluation 2009-2013:   click here
- FAQ's about STEP: click here
- SACY brochure: click here

School Age Children and Youth - Substance Use Prevention Initiative (SACY) engages Vancouver parents, teachers, students, administrators and the greater community in a process to strengthen school-based alcohol and drug prevention and early-intervention programs and policies.

The goal of SACY is to: Enhance the prevention and brief intervention infrastructure in VSB schools and surrounding community to prevent substance use, delay substance use and reduce substance use related problems.

At SACY we believe that young people that feel connected to their schools, who have supportive family, and have adult allies and mentors are stronger, healthier and better able to live up to their full potential.

SACY staff and allies are committed to listening to their experiences and supporting them in the prevention, delay and reduction of substance use.

How do we work?

The SACY team uses an innovative and comprehensive approach to deliver coordinated prevention and early intervention strategies that emphasize relationships, connectedness, positive youth development, and social and emotional learning. 

SACY utilizes a number of unique activities to engage with participants including “Capacity Cafes” where youth voices educate adults, community service learning opportunities, parent engagement and specific activities that involve Aboriginal and multi-cultural communities.

SACY has four interrelated activity streams:

Youth Prevention and Engagement,
Parent Engagement,
Curriculum and Teacher Training, and
STEP - a three day off site program

What does SACY work focus on?

  • Strengthen youth’s connection to school, family and community.
  • Build strength and resiliency in youth, parents and within the community by focus on strong points, not deficits.
  • Encourage open and honest discussion on issues related to drugs and alcohol.
  • Promote positive youth development - emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual.
  • Create opportunities for youth voices to be heard.

SACY acknowledges that adolescence may be a time of experimentation with substances, including tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, and therefore works to:

  • Ensure that prevention initiatives are relevant and realistic, helping young people gain skills to navigate effectively in a society where substance use is prevalent.
  • Generate opportunities for youth to give back to their communities.
  • Address risk factors that exist around substance use and which are related to individuals, families, schools and community.

SACY recognizes the important role of parents, teachers and other adults and therefore seeks to:

  • Support parents/caregivers in maintaining strong relationships with their youth.
  • Teach parents effective ways of communicating with their children.
  • Promote adult listening and adult ally building as important steps in helping young people stay healthy and feel positively connected to their schools and communities.

SACY seeks to impact the school environment and thus aims to:

  • Support teachers and administrators to utilize evidence-based prevention practices
  • Conduct teacher training to implement effective classroom curricula.
  • Work with schools to implement an integrated approach to substance use prevention.

SACY is committed to a multi-faceted approach and ongoing review of our activities by external evaluators thus allowing the initiative to give the most promising results.

SACY is a joint initiative of the Vancouver School Board and Vancouver Coastal Health in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Police Department, the University of British Columbia and the Centre for Addictions Research of BC. 

City of Vancouver

Health Canada

Production of this website has been
made possible through a financial
contribution from Health Canada.
University of British Columbia
Vancouver Coastal Health

Vancouver Foundation

Vancouver Police Department


SACY Informational brochure (pdf)
SACY 2008-2009 Evaluation highlights (pdf)
SACY 2008-2009 Evaluation Executive Summary (pdf)

'Best' Practices in prevention for Youth literature review (pdf)

Key Evaluation Highlights  2009-2012