The Brookline Coalition Against Substance Abuse (B-CASA) was founded in 2003 by a collaboration of community leaders working on substance abuse prevention in the town of Brookline, Massachusetts. Partially funded by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services and the Brookline Community Foundation, B-CASA hosts community forums on a range of issues affecting teens. Topics have included underage alcohol use, teen brain development, marijuana and safe teen driving. The Coalition includes:
- Peer Leaders from Brookline High School
- Public Health
- Mental Health and Substance abuse treatment providers
- Youth-serving professionals from school, police, recreation department, religious organizations, and other community organizations.
This diverse group is united in its efforts to prevent teens’ abuse of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, and the risky behavior that goes with it. The Coalition aims to devise and implement research-based prevention strategies that address the underlying issues and risk factors contributing to teen substance abuse in Brookline.
- To reduce the use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs among Brookline youth.
- To mobilize multiple sectors of the community, representing the diversity of Brookline, in the prevention of teen substance abuse.
- Train and mobilize a diverse group of youth as leaders in teen substance abuse prevention
- Employ multiple environmental strategies to address the underlying factors contributing to underage alcohol use
- Outreach to engage a broad and more diverse representation of the community in prevention efforts
- Change the current community norms and beliefs among youth that contribute to teen alcohol and marijuana use, and increase support for an alcohol- and drug-free social culture for youth
- Through B-PEN, a parent outreach and education initiative, engage and educate Brookline parents on ways to successively navigate the complex social and emotional issues currently affecting teens that contribute to substance abuse and associated high risk behaviors. Improve parent communication skills, and mobilize parents to take an active role in providing a clear “no-use” message to teens.