Our Work at Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition

Taking Meaningful Steps
Toward Substance-Free Youth

By balancing data-driven programs with community-supported collaboration, we work to decrease the likelihood that youth will use substances by building a community that supports resilient, healthy youth.
Students outside walking to class on a sunny day

Making a Difference, Together

At Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition, we believe that preventing youth substance use is a team effort. That’s why we proudly partner with our schools, law enforcement, faith groups, local businesses, parents, teens, and community as a whole. We all play a role in the future of Easthampton. By working together, we can make a real difference for our youth.
Group of freshmen students walking home
Group of young adults in classroom learning and reading their books

Having an Impact

Our efforts have led to community-wide changes that have furthered our mission. For example, we led 2017 efforts to raise the legal tobacco age to 21 and set minimum prices, improve park signage, and move flavored products exclusively to 21+ stores.

We brought the LifeSkills curriculum, supported the Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) initiative, and introduced the evidence-based Strengthening Families parent education program into our schools and community. We supported safe drug storage campaigns that are fundamental to keeping substances out of the hands of young people. These programs have made and continue to make significant strides toward happier and healthier youth and more informed parents and care-givers.

We fully recognize that making a difference extends beyond at home or in school. The greater community plays an important role in the future of our youth. Our alcohol compliance checks, alcohol server training programs, input on development of sensible zoning regulations around alcohol and cannabis retail stores are all part of the strategies we support.

Our work has resulted in positive movement around risky youth substance use. The 12th grade drinking rates have declined from 60% in 2009 to 38% in 2017. The number of retail alcohol stores and bars that pass compliance checks has moved from 50% in 2008 to over 95% in 2017. Successes like those are important, and we will continue to work hard to increase our impact and reduce risk for Easthampton teens.

Father and son sitting at a skate park talking

Starting the Conversation

In 2016, we initiated the Talk, They Hear You campaign on a local level to support parents and caregivers in the crucial role they play in keeping young people safe. In our surveys, we learned that 84% of surveyed parents had a conversation with their young person about substance use and another 11% planned to. We spread the word about a Talk, They Hear You mobile app designed to support and empower parents/caregivers to engage in these important conversations and we also made important connections on the national prevention level by participating in a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) national webinar, and Talk, a 2019 national radio broadcast by SAMHSA.

These initiatives have decreased risk factors and increased protective factors from 2009 onward according to data compiled in the Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, often referred to as the PNAS.

Ready to Get Involved?

For updates, donations, social media links, and information on how to get involved with Easthampton Healthy Youth Coalition, we invite you to visit our Get Involved page!
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