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Commack Coalition of Caring. Building Bridges to Address Substance Use and Abuse in the Commack Community. History of the CCC. 1996 Ad Hoc Drug Advisory Committee Chaired by Russell Stewart Helped to guide programs and district policy related to substance use and abuse

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Commack Coalition of Caring

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Commack Coalition of Caring

Building Bridges to Address Substance Use and Abuse in the

Commack Community

History of the CCC

  • 1996 Ad Hoc Drug Advisory Committee

    • Chaired by Russell Stewart

    • Helped to guide programs and district policy related to substance use and abuse

  • 2002 Commack Coalition of Caring

    • Chaired by John Kelly since 2004

Major Accomplishments

  • Safe Homes Program –Debbie Virga

  • Parent Resource Center & Parent Workshops –Nan Lancy

  • Drug and Alcohol Awareness Events

  • Parent Academy

  • Teacher Awareness and Education

Current Activities

  • Collaboration with the Suffolk Coalition to Prevent Alcohol and Drug Dependency

  • SAMHSA Grant to strengthen community coalition

  • Community Forums

  • “Community Connectors” to facilitate relationships in community

  • Collaboration with Health and Physical Education Department to promote ASHA standards for social and emotional competency


  • Two year grant received by the Suffolk Coalition to “mentor” the CCC to strengthen community bridges

    • $75,000/year

  • Potential for District to receive additional grant funding for up to 10 years

    • $125,000/year



3. Defining Organizational Structure

3. Defining Organizational Structure

and Operating Mechanisms

and Operating Mechanisms

1. Analyzing Information About the Problem,

1. Analyzing Information About the Problem,

Goals, and Factors Affecting Them

Goals, and Factors Affecting Them

7. Developing a framework or

4. Developing a framework or

model of change

2. Establishing Vision and Mission

model of change

2. Establishing Vision and Mission

8. Developing and Using

5. Developing and Using

Strategic and Action Plans

Strategic and Action Plans

6. Arranging Resources for

6. Arranging Resources for

Community Mobilization

Community Mobilization

11. Making Outcomes Matter

11. Making Outcomes Matter

5. Developing Leadership

7. Developing Leadership

4. Assuring

Technical Assistance

9. Assuring

10. Sustaining the Work

12. Sustaining the Work

9. Implementing Effective

8. Implementing Effective



12. Documenting Progress and

10. Documenting Progress and

Using Feedback

Using Feedback

Best Processes for Implementing

theStrategic Prevention


A. Assessment

B. Capacity

E. Evaluation

C. Planning

D. Implementation

1Best processes identified through a literature review conducted by Dr. Renee Boothroyd, University of Kansas – used with permission.






















  • Research has identified risk factors in four domains:

Risk factors

  • Risk factors are predictive of higher levels of adolescent substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school drop-out and violence.

Availability of Firearms

Availability of Drugs

Community Laws and Norms Favorable toward Drug Use, Firearms and Crime

Media Portrayals of Violence

Transitions and Mobility

Low Neighborhood Attachment and Community Disorganization

Extreme Economic Deprivation

Family History of the Problem Behavior

Family Management Problems

Family Conflict

Favorable Parental Attitudes and Involvement in the Problem Behavior


Academic Failure Beginning in Late Elementary School

Lack of Commitment to School

Early and Persistent Antisocial Behavior


Friends who Engage in the Problem Behavior

Gang Involvement

Favorable Attitudes toward the Problem Behavior

Early Initiation of the Problem Behavior

Constitutional Factors



Key Leader Orientation

Key Leader Orientation

  • Research has identified protective factors in four domains:

Protective factors

  • Protective factorsbuffer young people’s exposure to risk.

  • Individual Factors

    • Belief in Self

    • Connection with one caring adult

    • Resilient temperament/competencies

    • Prosocial orientation

    • Sense of Humor

  • Family Factors

    • Positive parenting strategies

    • Parental emotional stability

    • Economic stability

  • School Factors

    • Clear rules and regulations

    • Competent role models

    • Opportunities for connections with students

    • Reinforcement of social competencies

    • High expectations for all students

  • Community Factors

    • Clear norms

    • Intergenerational ties

    • External support systems

  • Risk and protective factors exist in all areas of children’s lives.

  • The more risk factors present, the greater the chances of problem behavior.

  • Risk and protective factors can be present throughout development.

  • Risk factors are buffered by protective factors.

Prevention Needs Assessment

  • Bach-Harrison Prevention Needs Assessment

  • Funded by SAMHSA Grant

  • Grades 7 & 9 were surveyed in April 2008

    • 508 grade 7

    • 539 grade 9

    • Surveys were anonymous

    • Scored by Bach-Harrison

    • District does not have individual student responses

  • Compared to National Norms (Monitoring the Future & 8 State Norms)

  • Same students will be surveyed in 2011

What did the students tell us?

What did the students tell us?


  • Our students in grades 7 & 9 fall well below the national levels for substance use.

  • However, there is a trend toward increased use of alcohol and marijuana from 7th to 9th grade.

What did the students tell us?

What did the students tell us?


  • Commack students engage in less “at-risk” behavior than national norms.

  • However, there is a trend toward greater involvement in drug use, as evidenced by increase in “being drunk or high in school” and involvement with “illegal drugs”

  • Many Commack students are involved in gambling activity, which represents a “risk factor”

What did the students tell us?

What did the students tell us?


  • There is an increase in “perceived availability of drugs” from 7th to 9th grade

  • Family management is an important risk factor

  • Commitment to school and sense of rebelliousness improves from 7th to 9th grade

What did the students tell us?

What did the students tell us?


  • Lacking in “rewards for pro-social involvement in the community,” but students perceive these rewards occur in school

  • Significant drop in involvement in faith based activities.

Where do we go from here?

  • 2008 – 09 Community Forums

    • October: Faith Leaders

    • February: Youth Leagues, Booster Clubs, Youth Agencies

    • June: Business Community

  • Grant application submitted in March 2009

  • 2009 – 2010 Community Forums to complete the Coalition

The Commack School District Mission Statement

  • Within the context of a caring community of learners, our primary mission is to provide an exemplary learning experience that will allow each child to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values to become a successful, contributing member within our school community and greater society.

Commack Coalition of Caring Mission Statement

  • The Commack Coalition of Caring, through a dedicated group of parents, school professionals, experts in substance abuse, and community leaders are concerned with the development of the whole child in helping to prevent substance use and abuse. The Coalition recognizes the important influences of the child’s environment and is focused on interventions beyond the school.

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