Class of 2023 Celebrate Sober Campaign


Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Inc. (CAP) is once again launching its Class of 2023 Celebrate Sober Campaign. With graduation season and summer here, CAP continues the annual public awareness campaign to encourage students to celebrate safely and avoid the risks of underage drinking and drug use. The campaign partners include Peconic Bay Medical Center (PBMC) Northwell Health, Riverhead Police Department, and local businesses.

Class of 2023 Pre-Prom Meetings

With the support of PBMC Northwell Health, Riverhead CAP returned to Riverhead High School to facilitate the mandatory Pre-Prom meetings for graduating seniors and their parents. Dr. Lincoln Cox, Chief of Emergency Medicine, and Dr. Nicholas Palamidessi, Associate Chair of Emergency Medicine, talked to students and their parents about the health implications of underage drinking, marijuana use, and the long-term effects of substance use. Sgt. Dino Isgro of the Riverhead Police Department addressed the serious legal repercussions of underage drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, and how the choices young people make can be detrimental to themselves and others.

“Peconic Bay Medical Center is proud of our ongoing partnership with Riverhead CAP, and we believe that educating students about the dangers of underage drinking and substance use is an essential part of keeping our community safe,” said Amy Loeb, EdD, MBA, RN, Peconic Bay Medical Center executive director. “Young students are vulnerable to participating in risky behaviors, and we are happy to help them understand the dangers of doing so.”

While the message targeted Riverhead’s Class of 2023, the meetings also serve as a reminder that parents and the community play a vital role in preventing underage drinking. Providing alcohol to minors or allowing underage drinking not only violates the trust of other parents and the community, but it is also a violation of the law. Adults over the age of eighteen who provide alcohol or knowingly allow underage drinking in their home can be charged with a misdemeanor under the Suffolk County Social Host Law. Penalties can include fines up to $1000 and/or one year in jail.

Local Businesses support the class of 2023

Local businesses are once again joining CAP’s efforts. They’ll place 2-inch stickers on deli sandwiches, take-out bags, coffee cups, and catering orders. This year’s sticker says, “Congratulations Class of 2023. Live Your Best Life: Celebrate Sober.” CAP provides the stickers for free.

“Our society normalizes and celebrates substance use as a rite of passage for young people,” said CAP Community Prevention Specialist, Cynthia Redmond. She added, “The Celebrate Sober campaign serves a reminder that substance use can derail ambition and goals. We encourage students to celebrate their accomplishments and to be aware that healthy decisions can only help them achieve success.”

Each year, 5,000 people under the age of twenty-one die from alcohol-related causes. In addition, more than 190,000 people under twenty-one visit and emergency room for alcohol-related injuries. Alcohol is the drug most abused by teens and causes more deaths in young people than all illegal drugs combined. One-third of alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June, which is peak prom and graduation season.

“Through this campaign, CAP hopes the Riverhead Class of 2023 will know that the community supports their healthy choices and cares about their safety,” said  Redmond.

Businesses who are interested in participating in the Celebrate Sober Campaign should contact Cynthia Redmond at 631-727-3722 or to order free stickers.

For additional resources, visit our Resource page here.