Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training (SAPST)

The Iowa Department of Public Health sponsors SAPST training twice a year (spring and fall) in collaboration with the Midwest Counterdrug Training Center in Johnston, Iowa. The goal of the SAPST is to assist professionals in the field to gain an understanding of prevention principles and the application of evidence-based prevention strategies and programs. The four days of in-person training and an online component are required for Prevention Specialist certification. The session descriptions are listed below:



  • An Introduction to the SAPST
    • Training Overview and Logistics
  • Setting the Foundation: From Theory to Practice
    • Behavioral Health
    • Continuum of Care
    • Public Health Approach
    • Risk and Protective Factors
    • Developmental Perspective
    • Introduction to the Strategic Prevention Framework

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Define behavioral health

  • Explain the continuum of care

  • Identify key characteristics of the public health approach

  • Describe risk and protective factors in multiple contexts and from the developmental perspective

  • Summarize the Strategic Prevention Framework



  • Review Key Concepts from Session 1
  • Strategic Prevention Framework
    • Step 1: Assessment
    • Step 2: Capacity

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe how to assess substance use problems and related behaviors

  • Explain how health disparities relate to prevention

  • Describe how to assess the risk and protective factors that influence (or contribute to) the problems

  • Explain how to assess a community’s readiness and resources to address its problems



  • Review Key Concepts from Session 2
    • Step 1: Assessment
    • Step 2: Capacity (Assessing Capacity)
  • Strategic Prevention Framework
    • Step 2: Capacity (Building Capacity)
    • Building Capacity: The Role of Cultural Competence
    • Step 3: Planning

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how a community can build its capacity to prevent the problems identified in its assessment

  • Describe culture and how to apply cultural competence to prevention and promotion

  • Explain how to prioritize risk and protective factors

  • List different types of interventions and describe the criteria for selecting an intervention



  • Strategic Prevention Framework
    • Sustainability
    • Step 4: Implementation
    • Step 5: Evaluation
  • Bringing It All Together

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the keys to sustainability and how they are integrated into the SPF

  • Describe high-quality implementation and why it’s important

  • Explain the purpose of evaluation, and what to consider when reporting the results

  • Identify ways to apply the training material to your work

    This training was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies. Reference #277-08-0218. For training use only.

Training dates and registration:

The next training will be held on October 11-12 and November 1-2, 2017 in Johnston, Iowa.  To register, go to www.counterdrugtraining.com.  The registration information will not be available until a month before the start of the training.

For more information:

Julie Hibben at (515) 725-7895