The Council on Substance Abuse and Youth (CSAY) is committed to the prevention and reduction of youth and adult substance abuse in our communities. We are dedicated to working together to provide education, encourage recovery and create social change to empower individuals to take a stand to end substance abuse in our neighborhoods.
Skipping classes or not doing well in school
Unusual odors on clothes or in a room
Hostility or lack of cooperation
Physical changes (red eyes, runny nose)
Borrowing money often, or suddenly having extra cash
Lack of interest in activities
Significant mood changes
Loss of interest in personal appearance
Change in friends
Heightened secrecy about actions or possessions
Tell your teen what you expect
Set rules and stick to them
Give advice on avoiding risky situations
Stay involved in your teens life
Know what your child is doing
Get to know who your teen’s friends are
Follow up on your suspicions
Talk, Talk, Talk to your kids about the dangers of drug use
Take action when necessary
What is PAYS?
The “Pennsylvania Youth Survey” or “PAYS” is conducted every other year, in the fall of odd-numbered years.
The 2019 PAYS was the fifteenth biennial administration (1989-2019). Comparisons in this report were made between the results of the 2015, 2017, and 2019 surveys, as well as comparisons to youth nationwide.
Over the last several survey administrations, PAYS has added additional questions about problem behaviors based on areas of interest to state and local leaders. These include questions on illegal prescription drug use, vaping and e-cigarette use, gambling, depression and suicidal ideation, violence on school property, causes and effects of bullying and abuse (physical and online), Internet safety, transitions and mobility, and involvement in after-school activities in the community or workplace. After each survey administration, Pennsylvania stakeholders review the survey instrument to determine if there are additional areas of importance that should be included in the next cycle or if some items have outlived their value and should be removed.
Questions are asked across four domains (community, school, family, and peer/individual) to help determine where the strengths of a community are, which can be promoted to assist students. The questions also help determine where potential problems may exist outside of school that can have an impact on a student’s readiness to learn when they arrive at their school each morning. This includes questions on food security, housing instability, and the loss of a close family member or friend.
PAYS is administered in each participating school using either paper/pencil or an online tool. The survey is voluntary – youth are able to skip any questions they do not wish to answer or to opt out of the survey entirely. Additionally, students are made aware that their responses will remain anonymous and confidential. No individual student-level data can be obtained from the data set, and the results are reported in aggregate at the local, county, and state levels.
PAYS is a primary tool in Pennsylvania’s prevention approach of using data to drive decision making. By looking not just at rates of problem behaviors but also at the root causes of those behaviors, PAYS allows schools and communities to address reasons (such as a lack of commitment to school) rather than only looking at the symptoms after the fact (like poor grades). This approach has been repeatedly shown in national research studies to be the most effective in helping youth develop into healthy, productive members of their society.
Click below to look at the PAYS report from Westmoreland County. Thirteen out of seventeen school districts in the took the PAYS in 2019.
Allied Addiction Recovery
Axiom Family Counseling Services
D & A Case Management Unit
SPHS Behavioral Health
Mon Valley: 724-684-6989 ext. 4200
New Kensington: 724-339-6860
Greenbrier New Kensington
Westmoreland Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc.