The HCO works as the lead drug and alcohol prevention voice and policy making body for the City of Providence.
- Providing substance abuse prevention outreach and education to families though the Power of Parents program and school assemblies, to teens through the Above the Influence campaign, and to schools through Positive Action
- Hosting drug take back-days to assist Providence residents in safely disposing of unused and expired prescription medications
- Collaborating with the Department of Senior Services and community partners about prescription prevention programs for seniors at Providence Senior Centers
- Collaborating with the Providence Police and the Board of Licenses to reduce sales of tobacco and alcohol to youth and check compliance with tobacco and alcohol sale ordinances
- Educating parents, seniors and other community members about the City’s Tobacco Free Parks ordinance and tobacco products marketed to youth
- Publication of the Providence Mental Health Resource Guide
Substance Abuse Prevention Programming
The HCO delivers this national curriculum to build youth awareness of the power of the influences around them. Current research shows that students exposed to ATI have stronger anti-drug beliefs and a predicted reduction in marijuana use. Students access ATI’s multiple learning platforms via computers at Providence Public Schools.
This systematic educational program teaches and reinforces the intuitive philosophy that we feel good about ourselves when we act in positive ways– promoting an intrinsic interest in learning and encouraging cooperation among students. Positive Action is implemented in Providence elementary and middle schools in collaboration with the Providence Children and Youth Cabinet (CYC).
School Assemblies About Substance Abuse
The HCO coordinates school-wide assemblies at Providence middle and high schools. Keynote speakers include Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, and representatives from the City, State, and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Power of Parents
HCO makes this parent education program, created by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, available to all parents and parent groups. These one-hour presentations, in English or Spanish, support and encourage parents to talk to their children about alcohol and drug use. Presentations cover effects of alcohol on the developing brain, warning signs of drug and alcohol use, Rhode Island’s Social Hosting law, ways for parents to open communication and stay connected to their teens and deciding and consistently enforcing household rules around substance use.
Senior Health & Wellness Program
The HCO partners with the Department of Senior Services to provide education on prescription drug prevention programs to senior residence high-rises and Senior Centers. Additionally, seniors participate in Zumba and physical activities as an overall wellness approach. This program is funded by the City of Providence, Neighborhood Health Plan of RI, and Walgreens.
If interested in bringing any of the above programs to your community or organization, please contact the HCO.
Tobacco Policy and Education
The HCO works to build a healthy, safe, and strong community that is free from the harmful effects of tobacco. We seek to reduce youth initiation of, and addiction to, tobacco and nicotine products; limit tobacco exposure in the retail setting and public locations; and connect residents with smoking cessation resources to help quit.
Tobacco Point of Sale
Through regulatory efforts, collaboration with other city departments, community residents, advocacy organizations, health care organizations, and higher education institutions, the HCO supports a series of policies to reduce sales of tobacco, including new and emerging nicotine products, to youth. These policies include a local tobacco license requirement and a ban on sale of flavored tobacco products, single/loosies, and coupon and price discounts. The HCO, the Providence Police Department, and the Board of Licenses work together to ensure compliance to state ordinances through tobacco vendor compliance checks and tobacco purchase surveys.
For more information about Providence’s tobacco ordinances:
Summary of Tobacco Ordinances, Bans and Fine Structures
For more information on Providence’s Tobacco Point of Sale: Providence Tobacco Toolkit
Tobacco Free Parks
The sale and use of any and all tobacco products is prohibited in all parks, playgrounds, and recreational centers owned by the City of Providence (Providence Ordinance 18-22; Enacted December 11, 2014). In addition to addressing secondhand smoke, the ordinance protects children by creating a tobacco-free environment and limits youth exposure to use of other non-smoke tobacco and nicotine products such as chewing tobacco, snus and electronic cigarettes. Products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for smoking cessation are not included in the ban. Any violation of this ordinance is hereby declared to be a public nuisance punishable by a civil fine of $50.
Prescription and Other Drugs
Prescription Drug and Other Drug Take-Back
To prevent misuse of prescription medications and ensure proper disposal, the HCO coordinates two drug take-back days annually, aligning with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration scheduled dates. Additionally the HCO partnered with both the Providence Police Department and Walgreens to provide year-round promotion of the MedReturn Bin at the Providence Public Safety Complex and Walgreens Pharmacy (533 Elmwood Avenue). Providence residents may anonymously drop off unused and expired medicines at the bin 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Unused or expired medications may also be returned to your pharmacy.
Alcohol Vendor Education
Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS)
TIPS is a skills-based training for Providence establishments with liquor licenses that seek to prevent drunk driving, underage drinking and alcohol-related tragedies. The HCO offered this free training to all liquor license holders in Providence. In 2015-16. 12 Class A Liquor License establishments participated and 22 participants became TIPS certified.
Facilitating Alcohol Vendor Compliance Checks and Alcohol Purchase Surveys
The HCO sponsors and facilitates Providence Police alcohol vendor compliance checks and alcohol purchase surveys in support of state ordinances intended to reduce underage alcohol purchases. HCO staff maintained a spreadsheet of all underage sale violations across the city and tracked citations, Board of License adjudications and follow-though on any fines issued by City officials.
For More Information
Check out our most recent Providence Mental Health Resource Guide 2016
RI Prevention Resource Center (RIPRC) – The RIPRC is dedicated to providing training, technical assistance, and capacity-building resources to Rhode Island substance abuse prevention providers and their community partners.
Prevent Overdose RI – This project is an initiative of Governor Gina Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.
Tobacco Free RI – A statewide network of organizations and individuals working to reduce tobacco use.
Want to find out more about how to stay alcohol, tobacco and other drug free – join our Providence Coalition!
Email the MSAPC