Riverhead group to be honored for efforts to reduce substance abuse

A Riverhead-based organization dedicated to reducing alcohol and drug use in the community will be honored in February with an award from the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization. 

Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth will receive the award from Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), according to an announcement from Riverhead CAP, which established the coalition in 2006.

In applying for the award, coalitions had to describe effective solutions to youth substance abuse in their communities. Riverhead CAP’s application outlined how it addresses both underage drinking among local students and its root causes: easy access to alcohol and favorable attitudes toward its use among young people, according to a press release.

“On behalf of our coalition members and the Riverhead community, we are honored to be recognized by CADCA for the positive outcomes we have achieved collaboratively,” said Felicia Scocozza, Riverhead CAP’s executive director, in the release. “Preventing and reducing youth substance abuse is a community effort requiring strategic planning and persistence, and Riverhead has stepped up to the challenge.”

Working with local law enforcement, town government and schools, Riverhead CAP worked to change local policy regarding retailer compliance checks, festivals and fairs, alcohol use in public spaces and pre-prom events. The group encouraged festivals on town property to follow more alcohol rules, such as requiring wristbands for those drinking and providing responsible server training. Pre-prom activities include mandatory meetings for students attending prom and their parents to make sure they are aware of underage drinking issues.

“I have watched our members go above and beyond to make a difference in the Riverhead community,” said Kelly Miloski, coalition coordinator and community prevention specialist at Riverhead CAP. “They have made it possible for us to achieve these positive outcomes through their energy, expertise and dedication to our mission.”

The Riverhead Community Coalition will receive its award Feb. 8 during CADCA’s 2018 National Leadership Forum at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in Maryland.

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