National recognition of excellence for local drug-free youth program

Riverhead Wins Coalition Of The Year




Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth received the Coalition of Excellence award for Coalition of the Year from Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization.

The Coalition of Excellence award is given to exemplary coalitions that have clearly documented their impact on population-level substance abuse outcomes. Riverhead Community Coalition will receive this prestigious award on February 6, 2020 during CADCA’s annual conference in National Harbor, MD. This is the third consecutive Coalition of Excellence award for the coalition, which received the award for short-term outcomes in 2017 and intermediate outcomes in 2018. In its most recent application, the coalition was able to demonstrate long-term outcomes as well.

“On behalf of our coalition members and the Riverhead community, we are honored to receive the highest award from CADCA for the positive outcomes we demonstrated,” said Felicia Scocozza, executive director of the Riverhead Community Awareness Program, the lead coordinating agency for the Riverhead Community Coalition.

Successful environmental strategies highlighted in the coaliton’s application included the establishment of alcohol retail compliance checks, pre-prom policies, responsible server training, and Riverhead’s first comprehensive alcohol policy for public events. In particular, its partnerships with the Riverhead Police Department, Riverhead Central School District, Riverhead Youth Coalition, and the Town of Riverhead resulted in a 42 percent decrease in binge drinking and a 22 percent decrease in 30-day alcohol use among Riverhead High School students from 2008 to 2018.

Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, an active coalition partner, said he was amazed but not surprised to be named Coalition of the Year. “It is something that I have known in my heart for a long time,” he said. “I am so proud of all Riverhead Community Coalition members and sectors that have helped not only achieve this top award, but more importantly in keeping Riverhead a safe place for our youth.”

“I think the biggest thing we do is educate the public on the problems that are going on with youth,” said Riverhead High School senior Maximilian Solarz, the youth sector representative for the coalition. “There are many ways we spread the word. The medium that reaches the most people has to be the radio PSAs. This award shows how hard we’ve worked to get closer to our goal, which is to prevent underage alcohol and drug abuse within our community.”

For more information, visit www.RiverheadCAP.org.

bridget@indyeastend.com