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Community Members

Communities have the power to influence change


Ordinary people can create extraordinary change. Community members, including professionals who work with youth and families, can help young people develop positive skills, attitudes, and awareness in order for them to make healthier life choices. These professions can include pediatricians, child healthcare providers, educators, after-school childcare providers, youth sports coaches, and camp counselors.

Community members and professionals who interact with youth on a regular basis can use these opportunities to engage in positive prevention messaging that helps reduce the risk for substance use or gambling and build a system of support that encourages positive youth development.



OASAS recognizes that real people on the local level can affect lasting change. A community coalition is a group of concerned citizens, big or small, working to shift attitudes, norms, and stigma, around substance use and prevention. All you need is a small, committed group of people to create real change for generations.

Contact an OASAS Prevention Resource Center to be connected with a coalition in your community that aligns with your goals. Prevention Resource centers also provide regional training and assistance to help you start a coalition and offer continued support when your coalition is operational. 

Regional Addiction Resource Centers

The Regional Addiction Resource Centers (RARCs) raise awareness about substance use and gambling issues in each region of New York State by pulling together community members to work together to coordinate available services.  The RARCs can assist individuals, families, and communities in accessing local prevention resources, treatment opportunities, recovery services, and other supports.  The RARCs can also organize events based on community requests.

Contact a Regional Addiction Resource Center to learn more. 

Problem Gambling Resource Centers

Problem Gambling Resource Centers (PGRC) assist individuals, families, and communities to access local resources for those dealing specifically with problem gambling issues.  The PGRCs provide community awareness presentations that increase public awareness of problem gambling and connect those affected by problem gambling to appropriate resources.

Contact your local Problem Gambling Resource Center to learn more.

Community Forums

Community forums & Town Hall meetings are great ways to engage and motivate a community. When planning a community forum, it’s important to first establish a list of objectives and then develop a program designed to achieve those objectives. Planning should also include creating a list of established community partners as well as “new” agencies and citizens that you want to join in the conversation.  This toolkit has been created to assist communities in planning a well-attended and informative event that will inspire attendees to take actions to reduce alcohol and drug abuse in their communities.

College Campuses

The following video outlines best practices and lessons learned from recipients of the College Environmental Prevention Grant.

The Grant is a multi-year competitive award which creates prevention coalitions on college campuses across New York with the goals of preventing and reducing underage substance use/misuse and changing societal norms around alcohol and addiction.

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Video: College Learning Institute: Campus Best Prevention Practices