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About RCASA

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Ms. Erica McNamara MPH
Director, Certified Prevention Specialist
Phone
(781) 942-6793
Fax
(781) 944-2893
About
Bio
Ms. Erica L. McNamara serves as the Director of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA, 2008-present) which includes collaborating with local residents including teens to lead a community-based coalition focused on community-driven prevention strategies. She also oversees the Youth Mental Health First Aid Project for the Reading Public Schools (2014-present). Prior to coming to Reading, Ms. McNamara served as the Director of Adolescent Health & Youth Development at Lowell Community Health Center (LCHC) where she managed five afterschool prevention projects and three school based health centers. She was the Director/Principal Investigator of the Cambodian Youth Development Partnership funded by the U.S. SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. Ms. McNamara developed programs focused on Asset-Based Youth Development, Teen Pregnancy, HIV, STDs, Substance Abuse, Violence, and Gang Prevention blending innovative and evidence-based approaches. Ms. McNamara was with LCHC for 12 years and previously served as a VISTA (Volunteers In Service to America), Gang Outreach Worker, HIV Prevention Educator, and ESL Teacher. She graduated with Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Additionally, she completed the Suffolk University Community Health Management Training and the Master of Public Health Programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She has taught a range of evidence-based curricula including Creating Lasting Family Connections substance abuse prevention series, Reducing the Risk, and Changing Scenes. She is a certified TIPs Trainer which focuses on responsible beverage service. She has presented at both regional and national conferences including CADCA's Coalition Monumental Impact Conference, Massachusetts Connecting for Change Statewide Youth Summit, American Public Health Association, United States Conferences on AIDS, and the National HIV Prevention Conference.
Ms. Julianne DeAngelis LADC-I, CADAC-II
Outreach Coordinator
Phone
(781) 942-6756
Fax
(781) 944-2893
About
Bio
Ms. Julianne DeAngelis, LADC-I, CADAC-II, currently serves as the Outreach Coordinator of the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA, 2010-present). Ms. DeAngelis works closely with coalition leaders to expand outreach efforts on substance abuse in Reading. She co-teaches the Chemical Health Education Program and oversees young people involved in the Reading Police Pre-Trial Diversion Program. She has been in the field of substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment since 1989 starting her career as a clinician at Choate Hospital/ Caulfield Center until it closed in 1998. Since then she has worked for Bournewood Health Systems outpatient, Waltham Hospital detox, and most recently, until 2009, for outpatient and residential services at Cambridge Health Alliance/Somerville Hospital, and Right-Turn. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation, which included an internship in the Woburn Public School system. She developed and taught a prevention and education curriculum to grades 4 and 5. Additionally, she is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC-I) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADAC-II) for the state of Massachusetts. She has been active in community prevention education programs as a board member, coordinator and presenter.

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In response to 110 opioid-related hospitalizations and nine overdose deaths (2003-2005), the Board of Selectmen appointed a committee in 2006 to address the town’s substance abuse problem.  Because of the committee’s report, the Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse (RCASA) was formed as a collaborative approach to substance abuse prevention based on the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF).  Local leaders defined their vision, mission and bylaws, filed for 501c3 status and enlisted the Town of Reading as their fiscal agent.  The Data Workgroup formed to gather and analyze data from police, EMS, Youth Risk Behavior Survey and a Coalition Readiness Survey.  Focus groups and interviews with residents, faith leaders and emergency room staff yielded more data supporting the need for substance abuse prevention.  

Following the assessment, leaders developed a logic model, strategic plan and defined goals as:

1) Strengthen community collaboration

2) Reduce youth substance abuse. 

From 2007-2012, grant funds from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention enabled paid staff to establish an office at Reading Police Department, collect valuable data, train volunteers, engage youth and build capacity.  According to stakeholders, staff and youth leaders built the momentum necessary to change policies.  School Committee mandated a breathalyzer policy at dances, changed school search/seizure policies, added K-9 drug searches, added school substance use supports/sanctions, implemented new health classes and improved Chemical Health Regulations.  Board of Selectman approved 17 liquor policy changes, Town Meeting passed a by-law prohibiting public marijuana consumption and youth inspired the Board of Health to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies.  Police launched the first 24/7 medication drop off in the region and collected 10,000 bottles.  Police rolled out a program for residents to text anonymous tips, enacted a Zero Tolerance Policy and initiated juvenile diversion programming.  

RCASA influenced healthy social norms and reduced risk behaviors as measured by the Reading Youth Risk Behavior Survey (2005-2013).  Amongst middle school age youth, lifetime alcohol use and alcohol use before age 13 declined by 10%.  Current alcohol use and youth in cars with alcohol-impaired drivers went down three percent.  Lifetime cigarette use decreased by eight percent.  Marijuana use before age 13 went down six percent.  More youth reported ‘having an adult to talk in school about their concerns’, an increase of five percent.  Amongst high school age youth, lifetime alcohol use and current alcohol use declined seven percent.  Impaired driving rates declined by three percent.  Current cigarette use went down seven percent and lifetime marijuana use went down six percent.  More youth reported ‘having an adult to talk in school about their concerns’, an increase of four percent.

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The coalition is primarily funded through federal grants.  RCASA has raised over $1,567,000 in grant funds to reduce substance abuse and successfully implement a number of efforts.  We are continually seeking additional support to enhance our sustainability. Additionally, the Town of Reading dedicates match resources to support the coalition including office space at the Reading Police Department, Finance Oversight, and much more.

Currently funded:

  • 4-year grant of $48,498 per for RCASA to reduce underage drinking from SAMHSA Drug Free Communities/STOP Act
  • 5-year grant for RCASA/Town of Reading to procure $625,000 from SAMHSA/White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy office for substance abuse prevention (approved on 9/30/14)
  • 2-year grant for School Department to procure $100,000 from SAMHSA Project Aware (President’s Projects of Significance) for Mental Health First Aid training for school staff, police and community (approved 9/30/14)

 

Grant Proposals totaling $958,941 written in 2013-2014 by the RCASA Director:

  • 1-year grant for police to procure $5,000 for alcohol compliance from the MA Executive Office of Public Safety (funded)
  • 1-year grant for police to procure $5,000 for alcohol compliance from the MA Executive Office of Public Safety (2015 pending)
  • 3-year grant for police to procure $73,941 from the MA Dept. of Mental Health to expand police training and diversion programming (not funded).
  • 2-year grant for police to procure $150,000 from the Attorney General’s Office to train police and school staff in Mental Health First Aid (not funded).
  • 5-year grant for RCASA/Town of Reading to procure $625,000 from SAMHSA/White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy office for substance abuse prevention (APPROVED)
  • 2-year grant for School Department to procure $100,000 from SAMHSA Project Aware (President’s Projects of Significance) for Mental Health First Aid training for school staff, police and community (APPROVED).

 

The Director edited the following grants this year:

  • 5-year grant for School Department to procure $1.25 million to implement a School Climate project (APPROVED, 9/29/14)

 

Past Grants:

 

Grant

Source/Division

Amount

Type

Time Frame

Project

Summary of Benefits                                                      

Health Resources in Action (formerly Med. Found.)

STATE PASS THRU- Tobacco Prevention

$     3,000

 1x grant

2012-2013

RCASA Youth Crew-Educating community stakeholders on tobacco advertising

Youth conducted 4 community presentations on tobacco advertising and participated in 2 statewide events.

The Medical Foundation

STATE PASS THRU-Healthy Communities

 $     10,000

1x grant

2006

Reading Healthy Communities Project

develop RCASA Strategic Plan; paid for RCASA consultant; 6 town staff trained in 9mo program

The Medical Foundation

STATE PASS THRU-Healthy Communities

 $     10,000.

 1x grant

 

 

 

 

2008

RCASA Youth Crew Photovoice Project

10 digital cameras

20 youth trained

1700 photos shot

300 piece photo display created

Recognized by MADD and CADCA

The Medical Foundation

STATE PASS THRU- Tobacco Prevention

 $     10,000.

 1x grant

 

2008

RCASA Youth Crew Block Project

-500 piece art display designed by local children

-25 classroom presentations for  elementary children conducted by RCASA Youth

Attorney General's Office (funds from Purdue Pharma lawsuit)

STATE- Alcohol & Rx Prevention

 $     71,966

 1x grant

2008

RCASA Training & Development Project

Staffing; RCASA media products designed and advertised; Police training; surveys conducted; Selectman trained; youth and parent presentation; alcohol policies reviewed and changed.

MA Exec. Office of Public Safety & Security

STATE- Underage Alcohol Enforcement

 $     20,000.

 1x grant (applied annually)

2008-2012

Reading Police Alcohol Compliance

5 officers trained in compliance; Officers conducted 4-6 compliance programs per year x23 licencees.

Drug Free Communities

FEDERAL-

Office of National Drug Control Policy &

SAMHSA Center for Substance Abuse Prevention

 $   499,979.

 5 yr grant (renewal annually until 2012)

2008-2012

Reading Coalition Against Substance Abuse

1.5 FTE, evaluation services, in state and national training for RCASA staff and 2 officers, materials development, Text a Tip, Rx Round Up, Youth Crew Programs developed.

SAMHSA Town Hall Event

FEDERAL- Underage Drinking

 $       3,000

 1x stipend (applied annually)

2008-2012

Community Dialogue Events

RCASA hosted community dialogues focused on underage drinking.  Youth recruited.

Health Resources in Action (formerly Med. Found.)

STATE PASS THRU- Tobacco Prevention

 $       3,750

 1x grant

 

 

 

2011

RCASA Youth Crew Other Tobacco Product Surveys Project

-12 youth locally trained

-105 surveys of tobacco retailers

-67 adults trained

-7 youth & 1 adult  received statewide training

Health Resources in Action (formerly Med. Found.)

STATE PASS THRU- Tobacco Prevention

 $       5,000

 1x grant

 

 

2011

RCASA Youth Crew- Banning Tobacco in Pharmacies

-15 youth trained

-Board of Health trained on key health and legal issues

-Tobacco banned in 4 local pharmacies.

Health Resources in Action (formerly Med. Found.)

STATE PASS THRU- Tobacco Prevention

 $       3,000

 1x grant

2012-2013

RCASA Youth Crew-Educating community stakeholders on tobacco advertising

Youth will conduct 4 community presentations on tobacco advertising and participate in 2 statewide events.

SAMHSA

FEDERAL Sober Truth on Underage Drinking

 $   193,032

 4 yr grant (renewal annually)

2012-2016

RCASA Underage Drinking Prevention Project

To partially support staffing and supplies to implement changes in 7 areas to reduce underage drinking based on the University of Virginia APPLE Model.

 

 

$    832,727

 

 

 

 

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