SAFE’s mission is to engage our community in working together to prevent substance abuse.
- Develops community partnerships, expanding substance abuse prevention efforts to all sectors of the community.
- Advocates for laws and policies that reduce substance abuse and for funding for initiatives that have been proven effective in curbing substance abuse.
- Increases awareness of substance abuse issues and works to strengthen community norms that support substance abuse-free living.
- Involves youth in leadership roles to influence their peers, adults and community leaders about the value of substance abuse free living.
SAFE Executive Director accepting an award from VCU for SAFE reducing the motor vehicle crash rate among 18-24 year-olds for alcohol impaired drivers by 37%. We received the award during the May 3rd-4th the Wellness Conference in Williamsburg.
The coalition focuses on community-wide initiatives to prevent substance abuse rather than on programs or activities that target individuals or small groups. Some of SAFE’s major activities have included:
- Teen Ambassadors: Teen Ambassadors are high school sophomore, junior and senior volunteers who represent Chesterfield County and SAFE as an ambassador of goodwill.
- Teen Leadership: SAFE helps develop teen leaders. Teens participate as buyers for
underage compliance checks.
- Use, You Lose: A campaign reaching children from kindergarten through grade 12 and their parents, Use, You Lose stresses consequences of substance abuse.
- Underage Drinking Prevention: Alcohol use is the most pervasive problem among the greatest number of Chesterfield youths. SAFE’s prevention efforts have included:
– teach-ins by the chief of police
– Café Conversations about alcohol between middle schools students and their parents
– radio ads recorded by teens
– ongoing compliance checks
– partnerships with complying alcohol retailers
– parent education about the legalities and realities of Beach Week
– promoting safe and sober high school graduations.
- “Student vs. Marijuana”: Marijuana is the most frequently used illicit drug. According to the 2007 survey of Chesterfield youths, average age for first use of marijuana is 13.5 years. For this reason, SAFE targets seventh-grade students with its “Student vs. Marijuana” presentation. “Student vs. Marijuana” is a dramatization of what happens when a student is caught with marijuana at school. As the drama unfolds, the student audience becomes very attentive as they see the many layers of consequences that result from making a bad decision.
- Prescription Drugs: The abuse of prescription drugs and over the counter medications is an increasing problem among Chesterfield youths. Past 30-day use of prescription narcotics by Chesterfield high school seniors was 70 percent higher than the national average. Have you talked to your children about prescription drug abuse?
- Tobacco: Prevention is key. Teens who don’t smoke before age 18 are unlikely to ever develop the habit.