Student Support Services » Student Assistance Program (SAP)

Student Assistance Program (SAP)

The Student Assistance Program (SAP) provides supports to students with known or suspected alcohol and drug related challenges. Students may be referred to the program by CMS staff members, by parents or students may refer themselves. The goal of the program is to provide students and their families with early intervention services to prevent more significant substance use challenges that could develop.

All CMS schools have an assigned SAP counselor. Click here for a listing of the SAP counselor assignments and their contact information for the middle and high schools.

Elementary school students may also be referred to the SAP program; there are a small number of elementary referrals each year and these referrals will be directed to the SAP counselor that is assigned to the elementary student’s feeder high school.

Program staff is comprised of six counselors who have specialized training in alcohol and substance use prevention and intervention. Once a student is referred, an SAP counselor will make contact with the parent and will meet with the student. The SAP counselor will provide a screening in order to make recommendations for next steps. The next steps may include:

  • Psycho-educational classes related to drugs and alcohol
  • Brief 1:1 counseling services
  • Psycho-educational groups
  • Referral to drug/alcohol treatment with a community provider
  • Brief intervention using evidence-based curricula (e.g., Seeking Safety, Teen Intervene, etc.)

All services directly provided by SAP counselors are completely free of charge, and are available to any CMS student.

The services provided by SAP counselors (including screening information) are highly confidential. SAP service information is not included in a student’s cumulative record. SAP counselors maintain records that are separate from CMS general records in compliance with federal statutes that give substance abuse treatment documentation a higher degree of confidentiality than many other services.

In the event that a student was referred to the program due to a drug-related CMS Code of Conduct violation, SAP counselors will disclose to the school administrator only whether a parent/student responded to the screening request and participated in SAP counselor recommendations.

SAP counselors may also provide:

  • Transition coordination and support for students who are returning to a traditional school setting after receiving substance treatment
  • Coordination and support for students who are currently engaged in treatment while also attending a CMS school (e.g., the student is participating in substance abuse intensive outpatient treatment (SAIOP) the community or another type of treatment)
  • Referrals to general mental health services
  • Support for parents with concerns related to treatment, confidentiality, disciplinary issues, etc.

Common Questions for Parents

Common Questions for Parents

1.  Why was I contacted by an SAP counselor about my child?

Rule 28 in the CMS Code of Conduct addresses alcohol and drug violations in CMS, most rule 28 violations require that the student is also referred to the SAP counselor.

2.  My child had a drug/alcohol violation, so why am I (the parent) required to participate in the intervention?

Parents are children's greatest supports, and many evidence-based interventions are shown to be the most effective when parents also participate.

3. Does this student assisatance progam conduct drug testing?

No, the program does not conduct any type of toxicology testing.  You may be able to access this type of testing at a physician's office, a drug treatment facility, or through an in-home screening kit from a local pharmacy.

4.  My child is returning to their school following after completing alcohol/drug treatment and I am worried, what can I do?

  • Consult with the aftercare provider that was coordinated by your treatment facility     
  • Notify the SAP counselor at your child's school that you would like transitional supports at the school       
  • Consider an alternate environment within CMS such as the eLearning Academy, Performance Learning Center, one of the early or middle college programs           
  • Consider submitting a Request for Reassignment/Transfer form to transfer to a different school.  Note that documentation from a physician is required and the request may be denied.


If you have additional questions, please contact the SAP counselor assigned to the school (click here) and/or the supervisor of the SAP program

Carrie Sargent                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 980-344-0414                                                                                                                        

To view the results of Mecklenburg County’s Youth Drug Survey, click here (YDS 2018 report).

Resources for Parents and Youth

Resources for Parents and Youth

Alateen meetings in the Charlotte area (link

Charlotte Mecklenburg Drug Free Coalition (link

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Youth Trends (link

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Parent and Educator Page (link

Foundation for a Drug Free World (link

Partnership for Drug Free Kids (link

Drug Enforcement Administration Parent Guide to Prevention (link

Results from the Center for Prevention Services’ Youth Drug Survey for Mecklenburg County (link

Results from the North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey (link

For information about community providers that offer treatment: