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Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention joins 2021 Neuse River Bridge Run committee

Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention
L – R: Kelli Knapp, Board of Director Chair and Catherine Memelli of CCSAP

The Neuse River Bridge Run (NRBR) committee is pleased to announce that the Coastal Coalition for Substance Abuse Prevention (CCSAP) has joined its nonprofit team. The NRBR welcomes CCSAP and is confident they will add much to the organization and to the NRBR 2021 events scheduled for March 26 and 27, 2021.

CCSAP is a five-county coalition, headquartered in New Bern, NC, that focuses on substance abuse prevention within local communities. CCSAP covers the counties of Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow and Pamlico, and each one has a task force that works within their respective county. The CCSAP mission is to collaborate with stakeholders to reduce substance abuse among youth and adults by promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse and by addressing the factors in the community that increase the risk of substance abuse.

CCSAP defines its work by addressing the problems of underage drinking, prescription drug misuse and electronic cigarette usage within their catchment area. They partner with local stakeholders to deliver effective substance abuse prevention education (SAPHE), as well as by utilizing local youth and SAPHE youth to help ensure their messaging is tailored to and received by the intended audience, the youth of their communities. Their partnerships include local law enforcement, local high school SADD clubs, church youth groups, local health departments, local school systems, Juvenile Justice, local media and concerned parents and families. CCSAP seeks to promote healthy living, positive life skills and activities to ensure these goals are met.

Examples of how CCSAP helps the community:

  • Installs prescription lock boxes at pharmacies and police stations
  • Holds opioid prescription training for physicians
  • Creates a task force in each county who become the “boots on the ground.” Each task force is made up of volunteers from health departments, social services and law enforcement. Two of the task force duties are conducting community health fairs and conducting alcohol purchase surveys. In the survey, an adult who looks underage is sent into a store to purchase alcohol. If the clerk does not ask for ID, that info is sent over to Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) and the store and the employee can be fined and charged. These surveys have been conducted since 2013 and at least 100 businesses have been cited in Craven and Jones counties.
  • The SAPHE youth group (middle and high school ages) meets regularly. One of their activities is the “sticker shock campaign.” The youth (with their counselors) go into businesses and place brightly colored stickers on alcoholic beverages that do not look alcoholic (thereby alerting the buyers (usually the parents).
  • Partners with ECU to hold regional substance abuse prevention forums (held at ECU)
  • Each year, ECU provides two interns from the School of Public Health to help with data collection. This year, one of the interns is working on a soon-to-be published paper about vaping, written by Dr. Ruth Little.

Some of CCSAP’s funding needs are:

  • Alcohol purchase surveys (money for volunteers and mileage)
  • Funds for SAPHE youth to attend state and national trainings related to youth coalition work
  • Funds to help with advertising costs promoting local prescription drug drop boxes
  • Giveaways for local health fairs

“CCSAP is actively committed to work to ensure our local underage drinking rate declines. It is imperative that we all work together to help delay the age of onset of first use,” said Board of Directors Chair, Kelli Knapp. “CCSAP is excited to be participating in the Neuse River Bridge Run. This event is in line with our mission to ensure the health and well-being of our citizens. Working in substance abuse prevention, CCSAP always looks for activities that promote safety and wellness, and the funds generated will help us reach our prevention goals.”

By Jennifer Baer, Marketing Committee, NRBR