Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth Receives National Substance Abuse Prevention Award


Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth received the Coalition of Excellence Award for Short-Term Outcomes from CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization. The Coalition of Excellence award is part of CADCA’s GOT OUTCOMES! award program, which gives national recognition to exemplary coalitions that have clearly documented their impact on population-level substance abuse outcomes. Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth will receive this prestigious award on Feb. 8 during CADCA’s 2018 National Leadership Forum at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

“On behalf of our coalition members and the Riverhead community, we are honored to be recognized by CADCA for the positive outcomes we have achieved collaboratively,” said Felicia Scocozza, executive director of Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP), the lead coordinating agency for the Riverhead Community Coalition. “Preventing and reducing youth substance abuse is a community effort requiring strategic planning and persistence, and Riverhead has stepped up to the challenge.”

To achieve success, coalitions have to determine effective solutions to youth substance abuse in their community. Successful outcomes are typically the result of “environmental strategies,” interventions which change community conditions that contribute to youth substance abuse. “We congratulate the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth on their outstanding work and for being true leaders in the field of substance abuse prevention. Our CADCA GOT OUTCOMES! winners exemplify the excellent work that coalitions are doing around the country to prevent and reduce drug use in their communities,” said Gen. Arthur T. Dean, CADCA’s Chairman and CEO.

Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth was founded in 2006 in Riverhead, New York by Riverhead CAP and serves the communities that comprise the Riverhead Central School District. In their application, the Riverhead Community Coalition demonstrated their efforts to address the issue of underage drinking among local students and its root causes of easy access to alcohol and favorable attitudes toward alcohol use among young people. The coalition worked closely with local law enforcement, town government, schools, and youth using environmental strategies to change local policy regarding retailer compliance checks, festival and fairs where alcohol is served, alcohol use in public spaces, and pre-prom events.

“I have watched our members go above and beyond to make a difference in the Riverhead community,” said Kelly Miloski, coalition coordinator and community prevention specialist at Riverhead CAP. “They have made it possible for us to achieve these positive outcomes through their energy, expertise and dedication to our mission. I am proud of the work that we have accomplished so far and I am confident that we will continue to work towards preventing and reducing youth substance use in the future with the passion and determination that has gotten us here.”

Scocozza and Miloski submitted the application on behalf of the coalition. In addition to receiving the award at CADCA’s 2018 National Leadership Forum, they will be participating in two workshop sessions. The first entitled, Coalitions Achieving Successful Outcomes, will be in partnership with the other three Coalition of Excellence Award recipients. The second will be a presentation about Riverhead Town’s Alcohol Policy entitled, Engaging Stakeholders in Creating and Supporting Comprehensive Alcohol Policies for Public Events.

The mission of the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth is to engage collaborative partners in the planning, implementation and evaluation of strategies that prevent youth substance use. In 2013, the coalition was awarded a 5-year Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Grant through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). For more information about the coalition, or to participate, please call Riverhead CAP at (631) 727-3722 or visit RiverheadCAP.org.

The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.  This is accomplished by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, training and special events.