Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health: Date But Wait

The Date But Wait program is specifically geared toward school-age youth and addresses anatomy, abstinence, birth control, relationships, and sexually transmitted diseases/infections, as well as the impact that the use of alcohol and drugs can have on the sexual health of teenagers. In the state of Oklahoma, HIV/AIDS education is required, but sexual education as a “stand-alone” program is not—and this program helps to fill that gap. Date But Wait is offered to schools within the Cherokee Nation tribal jurisdictional service area at no cost, providing both an affordable and accessible sexual education curriculum.

In addition to addressing the consequences of unprotected sexual behaviors and the impact of substance abuse on sexual health, the program includes information on pregnancy-related suicide and self-harm, which can be correlated. It is anticipated that this program will give students the needed information to make educated choices regarding their sexual health. By discussing the consequences of high-risk sexual behaviors and the risk factors that contribute to and/or complicate these behaviors, students are equipped to either delay sexual debut or practice safer sex.

The program is taught in a classroom setting under teacher supervision during normal school hours. Topics include:

  • Male and female anatomy and reproductive systems
  • Cultural coming-of-age aspects, such as traditional ceremonies
  • The value of securing one’s virginity, what it means to be abstinent, and the advantages and disadvantages of remaining abstinent
  • Alcohol and drugs, and how substance abuse can affect reasoning skills

With funding from SAMHSA’s FY2014 Subcontracts to Build Evaluation Capacity for Evidence-Based Interventions, Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health will enhance the evaluation of the Date But Wait program by incorporating a three-step approach that includes a pre-survey before the initial program content is delivered, a post-survey upon the conclusion of the program, and a final survey to be delivered 30 days following the initial program presentation. These evaluation enhancements will provide valuable data regarding demographics, knowledge retention, and changes in behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs.


Andrea L. Rooks
Behavioral Health Special Projects Officer
Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health
1277 Skill Center Circle
Tahlequah, OK 74464
Phone: (918) 207-4977, ext. 5748