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.


Since 1997, the Revere CARES 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 grant from Mass DPH for 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.

About this Program

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 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 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, 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 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 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.

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.

2015 Outcomes

  • 46 students participated in the Power of Know club at two middle schools in Revere.
  • Revere CARES staff invited 117 graduating 8th students from the middle schools to write on a post it note how they were going to stay Above the Influence during the summer; 18 of the best answers were shared in a Community Page in the Revere Journal.
  • The Drop-In Center was open every Tuesday night to better support families of opioid users. The Drop-In Center made 29 referrals to treatment, enrolled 36 people with Narcan, had 66 navigation contacts, and conducted 6 community overdose presentations.
  • Approximately 100 pounds of medicine were collected during two Medicine Take Back Events, and sharps were collected in parks by task force members. This environmental strategy removed medications in homes and educated the community about prescription drug abuse
  • The ATOD Task Force Conducted a pledge drive during the 2014-2015 academic year at all Revere schools where parents were asked to pledge to talk to their children about not using drugs and/or alcohol - 823 parents signed the pledge drive.


Contact Us

Leslie Heffron, RN

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