The Regional Prevention Partnership (RPP) is a five-year cooperative agreement with the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abase and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Franklin and Grand Isle Counties are one of six new regions to which the Vermont Department of Health has awarded a grant under the RPP. The goals of RPP are to:
- Reduce underage and binge drinking among persons ages 12-20
- Reduce marijuana use among persons ages 12-25
- Reduce prescription drug misuse and abuse among persons ages 12-25
- Increase state, regional, and community capacity to prevent underage and binge drinking, prescription drug misuse, and marijuana use through a targeted regional approach.
Education and Outreach to Community on Proper Storage and Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs – We are working with health centers, pharmacies, Northwest Access TV, St. Albans Messenger, and and others to get the word out about safe storage and disposal of all prescription medications.
Expand Permanent Safe Drop Off Locations – Three new locations have become permanent drop-off sites. NOTCH Pharmacy in Richford, Healthmark Pharmacy in South Hero, and Northwest Medical Center in St. Albans have all come on board.
Local Policy Enhancements to Prevent Marijuana – In the changing legal landscape of cannabis regulation, local towns need help determining what local policies and ordinances will govern access to marijuana in their communities. From determining whether retail operations will be permitted to deciding on advertising restrictions, towns have a role to play in preventing harm from marijuana use.
Local Policy Enhancements to Prevent Underage Drinking – Towns can play a big role in youth access to alcohol by establishing policies that determine its use in public places such as parks and recreation areas, establishing their own social host ordinances, or limiting the hours of operation of retail or on-site alcoholic beverage service. Families have a role to play as well, in establishing their own policies that express their values regarding alcohol use and establish expectations for their children.
Regional Capacity Building – Community leaders, elected officials, school staff, businesses recreation boards and staff, families, and youth all need unbiased, research-based information and skills in order to build a safe and healthy community that promotes well-being and lives by the maxim, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Creating a series of unified messages about and approaches to substance use prevention is one of our strategies, and we are working with Northwest Regional Planning Commission, Northwestern Medical Center, Franklin Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition, the Regional Prevention Collaborative, and community youth and parents, to tailor this messaging.
Retailer Recognition for Passing Compliance Checks – Are retailers and restaurant staff checking IDs and ensuring that young people are not gaining access to alcoholic beverages through their businesses? Are they consistently refusing sales to people without IDs, with fake IDs, or whose IDs show that they are underage? Do they refuse sales to people who appear to be intoxicated? If so, we want to recognize their role in preventing harm. If not, we want to make sure they understand the consequences and have the proper training.
Support Responsible Beverage Service Trainings – Caring Communities and our partner, the Franklin Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition work with our Department of Liquor Control partners to promote and support retailer and bar/restaurant staff training. Retail and restaurant/bar staff and management who participate in training and value the importance of safe, responsible sales and service can be good partners in preventing underage and excessive alcohol consumption.
Outreach to Pharmacies and Providers on Providing Education to Patients – We are working with the Vermont Department of Health to make sure pharmacies and health providers have the information and resources they need to educate patients around safe use, storage, and disposal of prescription medications.
Peer Leadership/Youth Empowerment – Our coalition works with schools across the county to support youth leadership and to empower teens to serve as resources to their peers. Teen Institute and the Health Project are two of our initiatives, and use the Dover Youth-to-Youth model to help teens become confident, knowledgeable, and skilled in prevention and peer support.
Mentoring – We support mentoring in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties through Watershed Mentoring community-based mentoring, Grand Isle County Mentoring, St. Albans City School Friends for Lunch, the Swanton Royal Lunch Bunch, and Cornerstone Mentoring in Richford.
ROCKING HORSE CIRCLE OF SUPPORT:
Rocking Horse Circle of Support is a 10-week program developed by the Vermont Department of Health for pregnant and parenting women who are affected by substance use and addiction. It focuses on women’s self-care, relationship and communication skills, stress management, planning for the future, and parenting strategies. Caring Communities staff co-facilitates Rocking Horse with Sue Powers, LADC, under the auspices of HowardCenter; Turning Point of Franklin County provides a welcoming, hospitable space for sessions. Click here for information about upcoming classes.
TYLER GREENO FUND:
Tyler Greeno’s family established the Tyler Greeno Fund in 2014 to honor their son, who died in an automobile wreck after having achieved three years of sobriety. The purpose of the Tyler Greeno Fund: Support/create/nurture a sense of belonging within the community served by MVU through a small grant process that focuses on positive community involvement. The Tyler Greeno fund supports drug-free community initiatives that create a network of support where people can establish positive relationships and a develop sense of belonging and wellness. Caring Communities acts as the administering organization for this fund.
Caring Communities is also a proud supporter of Front Page Forum in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. Front Page Forum helps neighbors connect online about issues of interest in their community.