Encompass coalition welcomes drug-free communities coordinator


Encompass coalition welcomes drug-free communities coordinator

NORTHBOROUGH/SOUTHBOROUGH – The Encompass coalition recently welcomed Emily Flavin as the drug-free communities coordinator.

The group was recently rebranded as Encompass; it was formerly known as the Northborough Southborough Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition.

Last year, Encompass was awarded a five-year grant from the federal Drug-Free Communities Support Program. According to Flavin, the overarching purpose of the grant is to address youth substance abuse.

After five years, the organization will be able to apply for another five years with a cap of 10 years.

“A lot of communities get it for 10 years, and the good thing about that is it’s a much more sustainable amount of time. You can really build a lasting effect and implement annual projects over the course of 10 years,” said Flavin.

As part of the grant, awardees must identify two substances to focus on; Encompass will be focusing its efforts on nicotine and alcohol.

“But the way substances work and the way youth prevention work functions, you end up talking about a lot of different things. We’re working on those skills that are for not just substances, but becoming a responsible young adult in the world that feels that they have a connection to those around them and therefore wants to be responsible for their own health and be responsible for their friends’ and family’s health that includes all substances,” said Flavin.

Encompass’ efforts will be multipronged. That work includes building refusal skills, self esteem and mental health while also addressing behavioral health and signs that are the reason why they’re using substances.

“Most kids aren’t just engaging in risky behavior because they want to… But developmentally, a lot of the kids engage in the substances because another need is not feeling met on their behalf,” she said.

Flavin said the coalition wants to have programs in the schools to address resisting the pressure and using positive social norms, which would anchor their campaigns to raise awareness that most kids don’t use substances.

Encompass also wants to work on parent education and create a youth action council.
For information on how to get involved in Encompass, visit https://www.town.northborough.ma.us/health-department/encompass.

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