The Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth has once again been recognized for its initiatives during a national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) conference.
In a press release, the organization announced that they were awarded the Coalition of Excellence Award for Intermediate Outcomes at CADCA’s 29th Annual National Leadership Forum Feb. 7.
The award perennially recognizes programs that have clearly documented their impact on substance abuse outcomes in their communities.
This is the second consecutive award for the Riverhead organization, who were honored last year for their short-term outcomes.
“On behalf of our coalition members and the Riverhead community, we were once again honored to be recognized by CADCA for the positive outcomes we have achieved collaboratively,” said Felicia Scocozza, executive director of Riverhead Community Awareness Program.
Specifically, the coalition’s efforts in reducing the percentage of adults who reported having unused, unwanted or expired medication in their homes decreased from 52 percent in 2013 to 37 percent in 2018, according to a news release.
Youth survey respondents who reported having easy access to prescription drugs also decreased from 36 percent in 2008 to 27 percent in 2017.
The coalition was praised for taking a multi-sector approach to change social norms surrounding substance abuse by also having youth members produce radio public service announcements to educate the community about medication safety, partnering with the Riverhead Town Police Department to increase drug take-back events and increasing awareness among both English- and Spanish-speaking communities on proper disposal of drugs.
Since 2014, the coalition has helped dispose of over 5,800 pounds of medication.
The national conference brought over 3,000 community leaders together in National Harbor, Md., to discuss successful community outcomes. “Healthier communities are safer communities,” said US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams during a keynote address.
Ms. Scocozza and coalition coordinator Kelly Miloski presented a session to other community groups entitled “Transforming from an Advisory Board to an Active Coalition,” to showcase how the Riverhead Community Coalition was able to expand its membership and collaboration with local entities, such as the police department.
In a statement, CADCA Chairman General Arthur T. Dean congratulated the Riverhead coalition on “outstanding prevention outcomes,” brought to the community over several years.
Photo caption: Felicia Scocozza, Kelly Miloski, Cynthia Redmond and Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller with Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA’s Chairman and CEO (far left), receiving the Coalition of Excellence Award at the National Leadership Awards Luncheon. (CADCA courtesy photo)