Groton – In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the coordinator of the Groton Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (GASP), Carolyn Wilson, said the organization did not want to slow down its public relations work.
GASP celebrates National Prevention Week to pay special attention to prevention and prioritize prevention principles by focusing on youth engagement and social media, the group said.
Wilson said social media is one of the strongest tools to do this. The coalition must reach as many people as possible. The coalition reached 12,000 people on social media during the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week in April.
The coalition said it is constantly looking for creative ways to attract community attention, especially now that people may not really think about prevention, the press release said.
The coalition runs an essay competition for young people to describe what prevention is and how it applies to their lives. The coalition also hosts a virtual focus group where students can share their perception of what's going on in Groton and where the coalition needs to focus their efforts.
Other opportunities include social media competitions such as the #PreventionHappensHere campaign launched by the Drug Abuse and Mental Health Agency, where community members can showcase community prevention efforts.
The coalition recently bought an ID scanner to be loaned to local liquor retailers. A local facility uses this roadside pickup scanner to prevent underage liquor sales and underage drinking.
GASP is looking for new support on social media and is always looking for new members and additional leadership. Membership in the coalition, a Ledge Light Health District program, is free, and anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Groton can participate. The coalition meets once a month, currently virtually. The coalition, made up of community volunteers, focuses primarily on strategies to prevent and reduce substance use among adolescents in Groton and works with community leaders.
For more information, please email email@example.com or GASP on Facebook. Instagram and Twitter.