Revere CARES’ Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Initiative

Revere CARES’ Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD) Initiative works to strengthen policies to limit access to ATOD and enforce consequences, change social norms, and increase alternative activities for youth in the community.

Revere CARES is an award-winning coalition with 350 members from across the community dedicated to preventing alcohol and drug abuse among Revere youth. Coalition members represent a variety of sectors, including parents, youth, government officials, educators, health professionals, first responders and law enforcement. The Coalition oversees two major initiatives, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs (ATOD) and the Revere on the Move.  Since 1997, the Coalition has taken a comprehensive approach to reducing youth substance use. Due to concerning trends of fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses among adults in the community, Revere CARES’ ATOD initiative now includes opioid overdose prevention. Revere received a $300,000, three-year regional Mass Opioid Abuse and Prevention Collaborative from Mass DPH to provide mentorship to the Winnisimmet Regional Opioid Collaborative (WROC), a regional partnership of four communities-- Chelsea, Revere, Saugus, and Winthrop-- who are working together to reduce their rates of opioid addiction and overdose.

Revere CARES’ substance abuse prevention efforts engage the community in a variety of ways. These strategies can be categorized into four areas of activities: policy development and enforcement, educational opportunities, community collaboration, and access to services. Examples of these strategies include (but are not limited to) the following:

 Gateway Drug Initiative Activities

  • Policy: Strengthen policies to limit access to ATOD and enforce consequences. These efforts have included advocacy at licensing commission hearings, compliance checks, and support for the rollback of bar closing hours in Revere.
  • Education: Change in social norms. In collaboration with Revere Public Schools, the Revere Police Department, and several other local groups, Revere CARES launched the ‘Power of Know’ campaign to increase community awareness about the risk, harm and penalties associated with ATOD use.
  • Collaboration: Provide educational opportunities for parents and develop a parent network. Through the STOP Act Grant, Revere CARES has conducted parent coffee sessions in order to provide parents with opportunities to connect with each other and to learn about how substance use affects youth brain development. 
  • Services: Increase alternative activities for youth. Since 2000, Revere CARES has collaborated with the City of Revere and local after school providers to obtain funding for youth programming that has now become institutionalized throughout the community.

 Opioid Overdose Prevention Activities

  • Policy: Advocate for Good Samaritan Bill and Narcan First Responder Pilot. The Revere CARES Opiates Task Force has actively advocated for initiatives that decrease the chances of fatal opiod overdoses in the community, including the Good Samaritan Bill. Additionally, Revere CARES supported the First Responder Narcan pilot program at the Revere Fire Department, which reversed 12 opioid overdoses in its first year of existence, giving individuals struggling with addiction an opportunity to obtain treatment.
  • Education: Implement opioid overdose prevention trainings and outreach to active users and ‘bystanders’ (i.e., family/friends of active users). Through the MassCALL 2 Grant, Revere CARES has supported the City of Revere in providing trainings that inform community members about the risks associated with opioid use, how to decrease the risks of overdose, how to recognize the signs of an overdose, and how to respond in the event of an overdose.
  • Collaboration: Support the Revere Police and Health Departments in establishing a medication disposal program. With the approval of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, a drop-box has been installed at the Revere Police Department so that community members can anonymously dispose of their medications in order to prevent youth from accessing dangerous substances and to protect the environment from improper disposal.
  • Services: Develop a Drop-In Center in the community. Under the advisement of the Revere CARES Opiates Task Force, the City of Revere has established a program at North Suffolk Mental Health that engages active users and their bystanders. Community members—regardless of insurance status—are invited to ‘drop-in’ during operating hours to access resources and learn more about possible treatment options.

Outcomes

In its 15 years, Revere CARES has achieved notable outcomes, including increases in the age of onset of tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use among middle and high school students, declines in binge drinking between 1999 and 2009 among high school students(39% decrease) and student reports of ever having been drunk in the same period (23% decrease). Middle school student reports of ever having drunk alcohol declined 22% during the same time period.

In 2013:

  • The rates of current drinking among high school students have declined both in Revere and at the State level. However, in 2009, Revere (at 43%) dropped slightly below the State rate (of 44%) and was on par with the State rate of 40% in 2011. The percent of high school youth who reported binge drinking (5 or more drinks at least once in the past 30 days) decreased from 41% in 1999 to 24% in 2011, a 41% decrease. Since 2001, Revere’s rates of alcohol use among high school students have been considerably higher than state rates. Over the past 10 years, however, Revere has consistently declined and dipped below the state rate (2011 YRBS, Revere: 62%, Massachusetts: 68%). Additionally, the percent decrease from 2001 to 2011 for Revere is 25% compared to the State decrease of 16%.
  • 40 students were members of the three leadership clubs at Revere High School. Revere CARES staff invited graduating 8th students from all 3 middle schools to write on a post it note how they were going to stay Above the Influence during the summer; 204 students participated and received an Above the Influence t-shirt. 346 high school students participated in the Above the Influence wheel activity which provided ATOD education and challenged youth to re-think the myths around substance use. The Above the Influence campaign was reenergized during the third annual Community Walk to Recovery on September 29, 2013. Over 300 students attended the event and received an Above the Influence t-shirt. 523 middle and high school students participated in the "Get the Facts" contest in which students had to write down at least 7 of 10 ATOD myths and their corresponding facts (listed on posters scattered throughout schools) and submit them to a designated teacher in order to qualify for contest prize.
  • According to a review of Revere’s death certificate data, the number of deaths involving one or more opioid has declined (2009: 15 deaths, 2010: 10 deaths, 2011: 8 deaths—preliminary data). As of September 2013, Narcan administered by the RFD had successfully reversed 105 opioid overdoses since February 2010.
  • MGH issued determination of Needs payment to City of Revere to sustain the Drop-In Center that began under MassCALL2 funds.  Combined with North Suffolk Mental Health Association’s in-kind contribution of space, this Drop-In Center is open every Tuesday night in order to better support families of opioid users.  The Drop-In Center was open 52 days for 104 hours.
  • With regional providers and partners, the coalition hosted two regional opioid prevention summits each having more than 130 participants.  This regional partnership well prepared Revere inapplying for the Massachusetts Opioid Abuse Prevention Collaborative grant which was successfully awarded in April 2013.
  • Kitty Bowman

    Phone: 781 485-6132
    Email: rbowman@partners.org