Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Council on Prevention and Education: Substances (COPES), Inc.: Creating Lasting Family Connections

Creating Lasting Family Connections is a family-strengthening program that aims to prevent and reduce alcohol and other drug use by promoting community and family connections as a broader source of protection. The program addresses a host of problems that serve as impediments to forming connections to family and community, as well as problems that contribute ultimately to antisocial behavior (e.g., alcohol and other drug use). The core assumption of the Creating Lasting Family Connections model is that through an increased sense of connectedness to self and others, one will be receptive to learning and adopting behaviors that are likely to sustain these connections.

COPES, Inc. men's group

The Creating Lasting Family Connections curriculum includes six modules—three module for parents and three for their children. Delivered over an 18- to 20-week period, the modules focus on:

  • Imparting knowledge and understanding regarding the use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco
  • Improving communication and conflict-resolution skills
  • Building resistance self-efficacy
  • Encouraging the use of community services when problems arise
  • Engendering self-knowledge, personal responsibility, and respect for others
  • Delaying the onset, and reducing the frequency, of alcohol and other drug use among participating youth

The program has been shown to increase the utilization of community services among families, strengthen parental knowledge of alcohol and other drugs, delay the onset of youth alcohol and other drug use, and decrease the frequency of youth alcohol and other drug use. Currently, however, no studies have determined whether these outcomes are achieved by increasing or appealing to participants’ sense of connectedness. With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-based interventions, COPES, Inc. will enhance its evaluation capacity by augmenting ongoing evaluations of two program implementations targeting distinct populations in Louisville, Kentucky:

  • Substance abuse and sexual health-related skills-building among African-American females at higher risk for substance abuse and HIV-infection
  • Parental skills-building for fathers re-entering from the prison system or in substance abuse recovery.

Specifically, program staff will add measures of agreeableness and impulsivity (as indicators of connectedness) to these ongoing evaluations and conduct analyses examining the extent to which these measures represent the underlying mechanism of change in the Creating Lasting Family Connections program.


Ted N. Strader
Project Director
Council on Prevention & Education: Substances (COPES), Inc.
845 Barret Avenue
Louisville, Kentucky 40204
Phone: (502) 583-6820