“For every $1 states spend on substance misuse and addiction, 94 cents go to shovel up the consequences instead of for treatment and prevention.” 




Brief history/key principles of agency

In 1987, a partnership of parents, teachers, students and concerned citizens supported by the City of Scottsdale, the Town of Paradise Valley, Camelback Hospital, and the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) responded to the need for prevention programming to strengthen the community’s youth and families and established the non-profit Scottsdale Prevention Institute (SPI). During the following decades, SPI has been publicly recognized for best practice prevention innovations, and has delivered prevention programming through a continuum of community collaborations and partnerships with the support of donations, endowments, foundation grants and contracts. The SPI mission To provide youth and families with life skills and practical strategies to foster a stronger and healthier community continues today.

SPI’s distinguished history is complemented by its current portfolio of prevention contracts and organizational support. SPI conducts approximately a dozen prevention initiatives including contracts with the Scottsdale Unified School District, with Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care. Existing projects that support SPI programming include youth fitness and nutrition, teen health advocacy, Scottsdale Youth Soccer League, and community mobilization, including a health-based empowerment module specifically for women to learn more about how to advocate successfully for their own and their children’s healthcare and academic success as well as how to interact successfully with existing community entities and governance structures to foster positive results for their families. 

Over the past 5 years, SPI school-based prevention programs designed to: (1) build healthy life skills; (2) stop bullying; (3) stop self-defeating behaviors; (4) eliminate alcohol, drug, tobacco use/abuse; and, (5) prevent violence as well as sexual & racial harassment provided services to over 112,000 youth in public, parochial, and charter schools (K-12) in addition to youth enrolled in community-based programs in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Paradise Valley. For a very recent example, during the contracted 15 weeks of Fall Semester 2013, SPI served over 1,400 high school students; nearly 3,200 middle school students; and, over 5,000 elementary school students for a total of over 9,500 students served in a single semester!

Since its inception in 1987, SPI has maintained as its primary focus the reduction or elimination of substance abuse, especially with regard to families and youth, along with a broader spectrum of prevention programming available to schools, families, and businesses. Using a wide range of SAMHSA Model Programs and Best Practices programming, SPI Prevention Specialists target messages that highlight the high risks associated with substance use/abuse, the imperative to resist the use/abuse of all illegal substances, the risks involved in abuse of prescription drugs—even those prescribed by family physicians; and the dangers inherent in high risk behaviors. SPI prevention programming also incorporates a strengths-based approach, emphasizing resiliency and protective factors present in all youth and families and building upon the cultural elements that strengthen resistance to personal offers as well as to environmental use/abuse (see menu of programs and services). 

Importantly, SPI emphasizes a role that proves essential in assisting schools in providing a preventive whole-school approach. SPI believes that it is important to enhance those prevention efforts originating from the schools as well as to provide on-going emphasis on prevention-specific programmatic offerings. As a result, we target long-standing best practices programs and nationally recognized model programs for use with students, families, and school staff.  Working with schools interested in/participating in whole-school programming, SPI provides the supplemental individual, small group, and classroom prevention-focused presentations needed to enhance the overall effect to improve the purpose and structure associated with school-wide positive behavioral support.


Today, SPI’s comprehensive prevention services address the community and workplace as well.

SPI’s community focus includes the acclaimed bi-lingual el Centro de la Familia (the Family Center). Community programs at the Center support prevention efforts through early childhood literacy, basic health advocacy, substance awareness and community mobilization. Along with these is a health-based empowerment module specifically for women and men to learn more about how to advocate successfully for their own and their children’s healthcare and academic success.

In the workplace, SPI introduced the Prevention Works!—Seminars for the Corporate Bottom Line. These offer cost effective resources to help the employer and employee reduce stress caused from substance abuse, bullying, violence, and issues from home. In turn these tools help reduce the high costs of absenteeism, injuries, spiraling insurance claims, low productivity and poor employee morale. 

80% of workers feel stress on the job. Nearly half say they need help in learning to manage stress and 42% say their co-workers need such help. 

In addition, SPI offers integrated medical and mental health assessment and referral services for those youth, families and employees for whom intensive social and emotional needs are identified as essential needs to be addressed. 

SPI staff, the SPI Board of Directors, Advisory and Parent Prevention Council pride strong advocacy efforts for children, families and the community serviced by the organization. 

By working together, we can achieve our goals of spreading the message the PREVENTION WORKS! 

Description of specialized training/technical education of the agency

  • Cultural competency training
  • Strategic Prevention Framework training
  • Ethics and confidentiality in prevention services workshops
  • Agency Personnel Policy and Procedures training
  • Drug-free Workplace training
  • Targeted evidence-based program training
  • Prevention services reporting system training
  • CPR/First Aid training


Professional organizations in which the agency is active

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Arizonans for Prevention (AzFP)


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 Conexiones (coalition of Hispanic leadership)







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Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Health Board


JABG Advisory Board (Juvenile Accountability Block Grants)