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About CounterAct

  • The CounterAct Program is a prevention program developed jointly by Hazelden and the Golden Valley Police Department of Golden Valley, Minnesota
  • It is designed to bring together Schools, Families, and Law Enforcement Agencies to serve as a source of support and to encourage children to make healthy behavior choices.
  • Teaches elementary students how to develop alcohol and other drug prevention skills, make positive health choices and avoid violence.
  • CounterAct is a five session curriculum designed to involve Law Enforcement, Schools, and Families in preventing children from using alcohol and other drugs and helping children avoid using violence as a means of solving problems.
  • CounterAct teaches students in 5th grade specific skills they can use to say no to alcohol, other drugs, and violence, and offers young people a supportive community that strengthens the protective factors in their lives.
  • The program focuses on the harm of alcohol, chemicals and tobacco to a person, and enforces positive alternatives and teaches how to resist peer pressure.


  • The goal of the program is not to teach a lot of new things, but to simply reinforce what is already being taught in school through the prospective of a street Law Enforcement Officer.
  • To help upper elementary students learn skills to resist pressure to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, and to make positive choices.
  • Build self-esteem
  • Learn about positive and negative influences
  • Learn consequences for our actions
  • Learn techniques that can be used to fight the pressure to use alcohol, drugs and violence
  • Identify the importance of parental influence
  • Parents talk with their children about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs


  • Students demonstrate knowledge of negative consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
  • Students demonstrate increased knowledge of influences to use alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Students demonstrate CounterActing skills as a way to say "no" to negative influences.
  • Students view Law Enforcement Officers as approachable and helpful.
  • Motivate students to choose healthy and safe activities.
  • Parents increase knowledge of alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use problems in their local community.
  • Parents reinforce the belief that Law Enforcement Officer are a source of help.
  • Parents know the content and process of CounterAct.

How It Works

  • CounterAct involves local Law Enforcement, elementary schools, and parents in a cooperative effort.
  • CounterAct is taught by a Law Enforcement Officer in school classrooms for five weekly sessions. The entire program is built around three main themes:
    • “You Decide,”
    • “You're in Charge”
    • “We're a Team”
  • The content centers on a few key concepts:
    • Consequences of actions
    • Influences on behavior
    • Violence prevention education
    • Safe and legal activities
    • Steps in refusing alcohol, chemicals or drugs
  • The CounterAct program uses a visual presentation, immediately catching the attention of the kids. Besides making the course highly visual, the presentation generates discussion and makes the program easier to teach. Most important, the CounterAct presentation is personalized for the local area and really allows kids to become involved in the community.
  • CounterAct is an interactive skill based curriculum. Students learn specific skills that they can apply in real life situations, and they will demonstrate these skills before graduating from the CounterAct program. The curriculum uses a variety of activities designed to encourage a high level of interaction among Law Enforcement Officers, Students, and Parents. These include:
    • Student activities, including homework assignments to be done with parents or other adults
    • Poster activities to be used in classroom and the parent session
    • A set of visual aids that provides structure and organization to the program.
  • The CounterAct officer is also available as a resource to help plan other prevention initiatives and serve as a liaison to the local law enforcement community.
  • In addition, CounterAct officers are trained to identify students who may be having difficulty with the program and get them the help they need.
  • CounterAct emphasizes the importance of parents and the family in the growth of elementary school students.
  • Family Tip Sheets are sent home weekly so that family members can reinforce CounterAct's message at home.
  • Parents collaborate with the students on homework assignments that ask important questions about attitudes toward drugs and violence.


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