The Drug-Free Communities Support Program rolled about $2.8 million in funding, and the Bristol Prevention Coalition received $125,000, the third of five installments.
According to the B.E.S.T-4-Bristol website, the mission of the organization is to “work towards unifying the community to promote wellness in our culture through increasing education, implementing strategies, and enforcing policy to prevent substance abuse by youth and those who impact their development.”
Jesse Mancinone, DFC project coordinator and overseer of B.E.S.T-4-Bristol, explained that the program runs in five-year bursts after a community coalition is an approved partner. After five years, the coalition must be reevaluated. Each year, they are awarded $125,000 in operational costs. The community coalition must also prove that they have an in-kind match for that $125,000, which Mancinone described as being “like $125,000 of effort and supplies.”
“They want to be able to see that… you have supports in place where work is actually going to get done,” said Mancinone. “And, you have to do data collection in the schools to show that the numbers are going down.”
Data is collected every 18 to 24 months, and asks young people about their “past 30-day use of marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs and opioids; perception of risk for using substances; perceptions of parental disapproval of substance abuse; and, perception of peer disapproval of substance abuse.”
Mancinone explained that there are seven strategies used to bring change to a community.
First, the provide information, such as “educational presentations, workshops or seminars or other presentations of data”; enhancing skills through “workshops, seminars or other activities designed to increase the skills of participants, members and staff needed to achieve population level outcomes”; providing support by “creating opportunities to support people to participate in activities that reduce risk or enhance protection”; enhancing access and reducing barriers to support by “improving systems and processes to increase the ease, ability, and opportunity to utilize those systems and services”; changing the consequences by “increasing or decreasing the probability of a specific behavior that reduces risk or enhances protection by altering the consequences for performing that behavior”; physical design by “changing the physical design or structure of the environment to reduce or enhance protection”; and, modify and or change policies by working with legislators for “formal change in written procedures, by-laws, proclamations, rules, or laws with written documentation and voting procedures.”
For more information, you can visit the B.E.S.T-4-Bristol website, www.best4bristol.com, or contact Mancinone either by email, jessemancinone@ bristolct.gov, or by phone, (860)314-5690.
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