Suffolk County Community College’s Michael J. Grant Campus Chemical Dependency Counseling (CDC) Program has launched a community coalition to reduce underage alcohol use, tobacco and other drug consumption on the campus as well as in the surrounding Brentwood community. The effort is being funded by a $690,704, five-year, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) – College Environmental Prevention Grant awarded to the college last year and unanimously adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature on February 6.
A newly formed campus community coalition is the driving force behind the effort and will implement strategies to reduce availability and problems associated with drinking, substance misuse and abuse.
Coalition members include representatives from various Suffolk County Community College departments as well as community members, including parents, teachers, law enforcement, businesses, religious leaders, health providers and other community activists who are mobilizing at the local level to make their communities safer, healthier and drug-free.
Prevention specialist and CDC Prevention Program Coordinator Kathleen Flynn-Bisson will spearhead the coalition’s efforts. Flynn-Bisson said the coalition will focus on:
- preventing access or the methods in which underage youth procure alcohol e.g., fake identification or third party transactions
- changing the campus community norms that promote underage drinking
- prevention and reduction of drug use including prescription misuse.
Flynn-Bisson said one of the first actions of the group was an Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Survey to evaluate student’s concerns, attitudes and knowledge about drinking and drug use, their experience with individuals who have been drinking, and their own experiences with alcohol and other drugs. A random sample of Grant campus students were sent an email inviting them to participate in the survey that will be conducted three times over the next five years. The results of the survey will give the coalition a better understanding of current substance use issues and in turn will guide their prevention efforts.