Communities are safer and healthier when teens are drug-free
The evidence is pretty clear. Teen alcohol and marijuana use is clearly linked to an increase in traffic accidents and fatalities, assaults, property damage, absenteeism, delinquency and many physical, mental and social health problems. Communities become safer and healthier when teens are drug-free – and they reduce the social and economic costs that result from underage substance use.

Partnership for Success: What Community Sectors Can Do
When many sectors of a community get involved in prevention, towns can actually create an environment where teens are much more likely to remain drug-free. Evidence shows that teen alcohol and marijuana use decreases when community sectors each play a special role. Check out the following evidence-based practices recommended for different community sectors. See how you or your organization, faith community, medical practice or business can do your part.

Parents learn the risks and talk about them often with teens and tweens.

Teens get smart about drugs and promote safe, healthy lifestyles to their peers.

Schools teach about drugs and healthy decision-making in a drug-free environment, and provide substance use counseling services to students when needed.

Coaches promote programs like Life of an Athlete® -- a science-based program that teaches teens and teams how to function at peak performance.

Mental Health Professionals help to educate the community about risks, signs and symptoms of addiction through bulletins and community forums.

Pediatric Offices screen for drug use disorders as part of a physical exam. Counsel your teen and tween patients about the risks and harms associated with alcohol and marijuana use.

Businesses hire youth, co-sponsor prevention programs, and maintain a zero-tolerance policy in the workplace. Liquor stores, check IDs. If you serve alcohol, require employees to complete Responsible Beverages Service training.

Organizations and Faith Communities offer youth programs, co-sponsor prevention programs, and promote prevention among their members.

Police use Best Practices for enforcing substance use laws and ordinances, serve as a school resource, and train Drug Recognition Experts (DREs).

Town Government enacts and funds the enforcement of ordinances and policies known to reduce and prevent underage substance.

3 Challenges to All Johnston Residents!

1. Take the National Drug IQ Challenge Knowledge is a cornerstone of prevention. The more we know about the effects of alcohol and drugs on teens, the better. Shatter the myths that surround alcohol and drugs and become an advocate for drug-free teens.

2. Explore Know! ™ A website dedicated to empowering communities to raise their children substance-free.

3. Help Prevent Rx Drug Abuse Use the MedReturn dropbox located at the Johnston Police Station to safely dispose of unused and expired prescription patches, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and samples – including pet medications. It’s just too risky to leave them hanging around. Free, anonymous, no questions asked.

For more information about PFS or if you are interested in becoming a coalition member, please contact Coalition Coordinator Pattie Sweet at 401-519-1903 or psweet@tricountyri.org.