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Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA)

The Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA) is a statewide student survey regarding risk and protective factors.  (Risk and protective factors are attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors which research has shown to be highly correlated with behavioral health
problems such as substance abuse.)  The OPNA is sponsored in even-numbered years by
the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in cooperation with the State Departments of Education and Health.  6th-, 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students comprise the survey base, and they are drawn from participating public, private, and charter schools.  Both school and student participation is voluntary.  Parent permission is a prerequisite to student participation.

The OPNA has proven a vital source of information for prevention providers.  Because OPNA reports can be generated by region, county, zip code, school district, or by individual school (a capability no other Oklahoma survey offers), they allow concerned parties to tailor their prevention efforts to the needs of specific populations; to see how existing efforts are working; and to allocate resources responsively.  The OPNA also helps ensure that the state and participating regions and counties maintain important prevention funding, and that agencies engaging in competitive fund processes (e.g., grant writing) have access to needed data.

Why Is the OPNA Important?

Substance Abuse has a negative effect on student performance. OPNA differs in that it tells us why students are using. These "risk factors" impact school outcomes. 

What Information is collected? 

  • Alcohol, tobacco & other drug use & access

  • Behaviors that students or their friends may or may not have done, (e.g., "How many times in the past year have you volunteered to do community service?")

  • Risk & protective factors, (e.g., "If I had a personal problem I could ask my mom or dad for help.")

Benefits For Your Students:

Data collected can be used by schools to:

  • Apply for grants such as after-school programs & Drug-Free Communities

  • Monitor drug testing programs

  • Develop school safety initiatives

  • Implement drug & alcohol education programs

For additional information, see the OPNA page of the ODMHSAS website, or a proof copy of the 2016 OPNA Reports for Region 10 or 11.

 

WMPN’s Role:
 

WMPN coordinates the OPNA in all the school districts within Regions 10 and 11.  Specifically staff members recruit superintendents to participate and then assist their designees (termed “district coordinators”) in planning, administering, and returning the survey. 

2014 OPNA Fast Facts

  • 21% of youth don't feel safe at school
     

  • 10% have been suspended
     

  • 28.7% don't believe there is an adult in their life they could share thoughts & feelings with
     

  • Students earning mostly D's & F's are twice as likely to have drunk alcohol in the past 30 days compared to students earning mostly A's.
     

  • 8% have used drugs to relieve feelings such as sadness, anger, or boredom

*youth defined as Oklahoma 6th, 8th, 10th, & 12th graders.