MEDWAY — Superintendent Armand Pires and Director of Wellness Dr. Ryan Sherman are please to announce the founding of the SUP (Substance Use Prevention) Medway Coalition.
SUP Medway is a newly formed youth substance use coalition that will aim to prevent the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco among Medway students. Data from an anonymous student survey, the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, showed that youth substance use has remained consistent in Medway for about a decade.
The community has worked for the past year to found SUP and the official kickoff event took place virtually in November. At the event, Aubrey Ciol, program director for the Impact Norwood Substance use Prevention Coalition, spoke about what prevention coalitions can do to reduce youth substance use and how the coalition can engage with youth in discussions around mental health and substance use. Attendees also learned about how community coalitions have been shown to significantly decrease youth substance use.
A recording of the webinar can be viewed here.
Over the next 12 months, the coalition aims to increase its membership and apply for the Drug-Free Communities grant. The grant would bring $625,000 into the community to support youth substance use prevention.
To be eligible for the grant, SUP Medway must have representation in the coalition from the following 12 sectors of the community:
- Law enforcement
- Youth-serving organizations
- Religious and fraternal organizations
- Civic and volunteer groups
- Healthcare professionals
- State, local, and tribal agencies with expertise in substance abuse
- Other organizations involved in reducing substance abuse
Coalition members can expect to join a virtual meeting once per month and may be asked to promote or participate in activities or campaigns that aim to help reduce youth substance use within the community.
“Youth substance use is an issue that the community has to work together on to resolve and prevent, and surrounding towns that have formed community coalitions and have received the Drug-Free Communities grant have seen a marked decrease in youth substance abuse,” Dr. Sherman said. “We are excited for the future of the coalition and hope that it will bring together members of the community who are passionate about reducing youth substance use in our area.”
Those who would like to learn more or are interested in joining the coalition are encouraged to email Dr. Sherman at [email protected].