MGH Hotline 12/12/08 Ten years ago, drug and alcohol abuse among youth in the Revere community was growing at an alarming rate. In the middle schools, 59 percent of students reported smoking cigarettes at least once. At the high school level, 51 percent of students were current alcohol drinkers, and 14 percent were binge drinkers. Today, the picture is very different – and much more promising.

A decade of progress- Revere CARES at 10

12/Dec/2008

Ten year milestone: From left, Ambrosino; Reardon; Eric Weil, MD; of MGH Revere; Bowman; Auerbach; Costa; and Dakin

Ten years ago, drug and alcohol abuse among youth in the Revere community was growing at an alarming rate. In the middle schools, 59 percent of students reported smoking cigarettes at least once. At the high school level, 51 percent of students were current alcohol drinkers, and 14 percent were binge drinkers. Today, the picture is very different – and much more promising. Fifty percent fewer middle school students have tried smoking, the number of current high school drinkers has decreased by 17 percent, and frequent binge drinking has been reduced by 50 percent. At the heart of much of this progress is the community coalition Revere CARES (Community Awareness, Resources and Education to Prevent Substance Abuse), a group dedicated to reducing and preventing substance abuse among Revere children and adolescents.

Revere CARES was formed in 1997 as the result of a community health assessment conducted by the MGH Community Benefit Program, which is now the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI). The results of the assessment spurred parents, local officials, education leaders, law enforcement officers and others to band together to address this crisis. On Dec. 2, the group celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special celebration at the Rumney Marsh Academy in Revere.

Highlighting the significant progress the coalition has made during the past 10 years, the evening’s program included an overview by Revere School Committee member Carol Tye of its many successes, such as the establishment of after-school programs at all elementary schools and the formation of youth leadership groups. AnnMarie Costa, deputy superintendent of Revere Schools, shared a review of the Youth-At-Risk Behavior Survey, which is given biannually to middle and high school students to learn more about their attitudes and behavior regarding substance abuse. The event also featured a panel discussion among Rosina “Kitty” Bowman, CCHI staff member and executive director of Revere CARES; Thomas Ambrosino, mayor of Revere; Terrence Reardon, Revere chief of Police; and Paul Dakin, superintendent of Revere Schools. The evening’s highlight was a keynote address given by John Auerbach, commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, who discussed the elements for the success of Revere CARES and the impact it has made both locally and statewide.

Revere CARES receives support and technical assistance from CCHI as well as the MGH Revere HealthCare Center.

 

For more information about the coalition, contact Bowman at (781) 485-6132 or rbowman@partners.org.