Prevention and early intervention strategies can reduce the impact of substance use and mental disorders in our community.

Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Services

Prevention services are designed to help South Carolinians of all ages avoid the dangers of using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Services strive to prevent young people from experimenting with these substances, as well as to prevent the development of problems among specific high-risk groups and the public at large. Available in communities throughout South Carolina, prevention services are based on principles of sound research and evidence-based practices.

Services are designed to identify and reduce factors that place an individual or a community at risk of experiencing problems, while at the same time strengthening other identifiable factors that can help protect individuals and communities from developing such problems.

GateWay Counseling Center provides the following prevention services:

  • PREP
  • TEP
  • AET
  • Strengthening Families

All prevention services are data driven and researched based.

Prevention staff is also available to speak to youth, adult and senior groups, participate in are health fairs, events and conferences.


Palmetto Retailers Education Program (PREP) is a merchant education program that is designed to help reduce underage access to alcohol and tobacco products in our communities while also lowering the liability risks for businesses and their employees.  PREP is the only merchant education program in SC that covers all of the following: off premise alcohol sales practices, on premise alcohol sales practices, tobacco sales, development of manager/supervisor sales policies and keg registrations.  The PREP program is approved by the SC Department of Revenue and the SC Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services.  For more information, visit the PREP web page.


South Carolina Tobacco Education Program is a class that is offered as an educational alternative to legal penalties for youth under 18 years old who are caught with tobacco products. The program educates on tobacco use and its effects, addiction, health alternatives to smoking, resources to quit using tobacco and the long and short term consequences of tobacco use.


Alcohol Enforcement Teams (AETs) are intended to implement evidence-based environmental strategies to reduce underage alcohol use and its harmful consequences. Enforcement of existing laws to restrict use and access by youth is one of the most useful tools in prevention, and prevention agency/law enforcement partnerships can lead to some of our most powerful and sustainable outcomes.

The AET model, which includes community coalition maintenance and development, merchant education, and law enforcement partnership, specifies a multi- or single-jurisdictional alcohol law enforcement approach (depending on the needs and participation of law enforcement within the target area) in a community to:

  • Reduce youth access to alcohol utilizing various strategies (social and retail access)
  • Measure, track, and improve merchant compliance with alcohol laws
  • Provide research-based merchant education
  • Build community support for enforcement of underage drinking laws through media advocacy and community coalition maintenance and development
  • Develop local law enforcement support for underage drinking prevention and enforcement efforts

Strengthening Families

GateWay Counseling Center partners with Thornwell Children’s Home to provide the Strengthening Families Program.  The Strengthening Families Program is a nationally and internationally recognized parenting and family-strengthening program. The program is evidence-based and grows family skills to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children. The program is also designed to improve social competencies and school performance. Child maltreatment also decreases as parents strengthen bonds with their children and learn more effective parenting skills.

For more information, visit the Strengthening Families webpage.