What is Rock In Prevention? What is Rock Digi?

Rock In Prevention is a nonprofit organization that was founded by Pat McManus, a certified International Alcohol and Drug Counselor, in 1990.  Rock In Prevention (Rock) has grown, transitioned, and developed several curricula and initiatives over the past 32 years, and in those 32 years, Rock has helped more than 1.5 million people learn the skills needed to be successful and accomplish their goals.

Pat’s Motivation

In the early 1980s, Pat had begun teaching himself how to play the guitar. He felt as though playing the guitar helped his mental health immensely. After Pat started working at Our Primary Purpose, a treatment center for adolescents struggling with substance use disorder, they were looking for a way to further engage the patients there. That’s when Pat started using music in therapy and creating a weekly show involving all the kids.

The Creation of Rock In Prevention

Pat worked there from 1983-1990, and the patients said that they enjoyed learning life skills through the use of music and that it helped them remember the skills taught. Rock In Prevention was first created in 1990 after Pat had been using music in therapy with adolescents that were struggling with substance use disorder and addiction.

Pat did an informal poll with the patients, and they informed him on what they thought would make effective alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention program. They said to use the music to teach, always make sure your content is believable, and have high school mentors teach it to younger students. The younger kids look up to the older kids as a source of reliable and believable sources of life skills. These trainings and workshops were titled Rock LIVE.

The Rock LIVE Program

In the early years, Rock LIVE targeted teaching realistic refusal skills of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs to prevent the onset of first use. Rock staff would train 15-30 local high school role model mentors who then helped present age-appropriate workshops for children grades K-3, 4-6, and 7-8.  The workshops used music as a teaching tool to help children retain the skills taught. 

Raising healthy kids has many challenges, yet there are still many opportunities to provide them with life skills that can lead them to make healthy life choices and build a strong foundation that allows them to deal with the ups and downs of life.

Rock LIVE’s Achievements

Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Director of the National Office of Drug Control Policy, honored Rock In Prevention along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as an exemplary program in April 1997 in Washington DC.

The Rock PLUS Program

Rock In Prevention then began researching the possibility of creating a pen-and-paper curriculum named Rock PLUS to be implemented by local counselors and teachers at their schools. This curriculum used songs as teaching tools, interactive lessons, student worksheets, and a school-home link to increase parental involvement in their child’s education. Rock PLUS includes an Instructor Manual and Student Workbooks to teach social-emotional learning and life skills for success.

Rock PLUS’s Achievements

Iowa State University (ISU) won a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to study the effectiveness of Rock PLUS and found scientific evidence of its effectiveness. Rock PLUS was named to the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).

The Rock Digi Program – Our New and Modern Approach to Reaching Students

Rock In Prevention then began developing an online curriculum, called Rock Digi, which helps teach students about social-emotional learning, mental health resources, life skills for success, and substance abuse prevention. The Rock Digi curriculum can be found at rockdigi.org and currently helps children to be resilient and work through the challenges they face at various stages of childhood.

The Rock Digi online curriculum currently targets student’s grades 2 – 12 with age-appropriate whiteboard animations, lyric music videos, discussion questions, drill-down activities, and a school-home partnership. Each of these methods is entertaining and helps capture the attention and intrigue of students so that they want to learn the skills taught. This digital curriculum can be taught in person or online.

What’s Next? The Future of Rock Digi

Rock In Prevention’s current curriculum, Rock Digi continues to use music as a teaching tool and often uses some of the same songs that Pat used in the 1980s with kids in treatment. It has been amazing to see how music can help students make emotional connections that make impact their learning. We plan to continue to help students for generations to come so more students have the skills needed to maintain mental wellness, achieve their goals, and be successful as their authentic selves.



Rock Digi has sample lessons that can be viewed at rockdigi.org as well as lesson preview videos available on our YouTube Channel – Pat McManus Rock In Prevention.

Click the link below to visit our Linktree to learn more about the Rock Digi program.

View the Rock In Prevention – Rock Digi Linktree



Visit rockdigi.org for more information and free trial lessons.
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Make sure to check out the music used in the Rock Digi curriculum on our YouTube channel, Spotify, Apple Music, or wherever you listen to music. Below are links to where to find our music.
YouTube - Rock In Prevention Pat McManus
Spotify - Pat McManus
Apple Music - Pat McManus