Alcohol Education Guide
to Reducing Harmful Drinking

Bi-Cultural Competence Skills Program (BCSP)



Implementer: Columbia University School of Social Work; Delta Consulting Group

Partners: The National Cancer Institute, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Columbia University School of Social Work, the Delta Consulting Group, and the cooperation of a number of Native American tribes

Program Overview: BCSP was developed to prevent substance abuse among Native American youth through skills and community-based approaches. 

Program Design: BCSP comprises fifteen 50-minute weekly sessions led by Native American counselors Each session involves instruction, modeling, and rehearsal in cognitive-behavioral skills associated with substance abuse prevention. These skills include problem solving, personal coping, and interpersonal communication skills. The program was designed to incorporate and address important aspects of Native American culture and history. For instance, students discussed the ceremonial use of tobacco in Native cultures and distinguished it from the harmful quotidian abuse of tobacco. 

Evaluation: BCSP was evaluated in a randomized, controlled trial whose participants included 1,396 third though fifth-grade Native American students from 27 schools in five states. Students were randomly assigned to one of two intervention groups or to a control group. Both intervention groups participated in the BCSP program, but only one of the prevention groups engaged local community residents in these efforts. The program was evaluated over the course of 3.5 years through surveys of students from each group on their substance use including tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana. The first evaluation was conducted 6 months post-intervention and 3 more were given every 12 months thereafter. 

Key findings: Cigarette use was unaffected by the intervention, while the use of smokeless tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana were lower for students who had participated in the program compared to those in the control group. Community involvement was not shown to have an effect. 


  1. Schinke, S. P., Tepavac, L., & Cole, K. C. (2000). Preventing substance use among Native American youth: Three-year results. Addictive Behaviors, 25(3), 387-397. 

Target Audience: Elementary school (10 years and younger)
Issues: Underage Drinking
Setting: Schools
Approach: Life Skills
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