Sarasota Organizations That Fight Substance Abuse
Nonprofit organizations in Sarasota County work to reduce substance abuse through programs that provide education, intervention and support to individuals battling addiction or in recovery. Many initiatives also inform young people of the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse
The Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse uses numerous programs to prevent area substance abuse. The organization works with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office and Sarasota County Schools for Project AIM, a program that teaches retailers and restaurant and lounge staff in Sarasota County to identify potentially impaired drivers.
The Community Awareness Program engages the community in substance abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery. The program uses a diverse marketing plan, including a media campaign, to accomplish its goals.
The Community Empowerment Program provides substance abuse education to parents, community members and professionals. It also supports the creation of a mentoring center to increase collaboration among service providers.
The goal of the ASSESS Program is to promote substance abuse and mental health assessments within businesses, educational institutions and health care facilities.
The Partners in Justice Program is an effort to advocate for drug diversionary practices in the judicial system. The program includes projects that promote a continuum of care for at-risk youth and adults.
Believe in All Your Possibilities is a campaign that asks communities to have confidence in young people’s potential to succeed. USF, the Sarasota County Health Department and a community board work together to prevent smoking and alcohol use among middle school students. The project also provides intervention strategies to the community.
Drug Free Sarasota
Drug Free Sarasota is a coalition that works to reduce drug use and underage drinking through prevention initiatives, educational meetings, community collaborations and outreach. The organization uses marketing campaigns to inform the public on the dangers of substance abuse.
The Alcohol Environmental Scan project gathers information about how alcohol is advertised in locations such as billboards, stores, bars, clubs and other locations that promote or sell alcoholic beverages. Drug Free Sarasota uses the information to develop a state report and county-level data on alcohol exposure.
The organization also informs the community of prescription drug take-back locations. Its website includes substance abuse prevention resources and statistics on underage alcohol use.
Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County
The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County assists and supports pregnant women, infants and young children in Sarasota County.
Healthy Start services include phone consultations or meetings with a trained nurse
or social service provider, classes in baby care, breastfeeding and childbirth education, and smoking cessation education. The organization also provides free parenting classes, grief counseling and in-home postpartum support.
Healthy Start also conducts prenatal and infant risk screening.
The organization participates in the Show Your Love campaign, which promotes healthy habits before becoming pregnant. Meanwhile, Clean Start provides women with information on drugs and the dangers of substance abuse during pregnancy.
Drug-Free Youth (D-Fy) is a movement of Sarasota County students in sixth through 12th grade who commit to living drug free. Through this prevention initiative, area youth complete an application that confirms their commitments to avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco. All potential members take a confidential drug screening upon joining. Members also can attend exclusive D-Fy events.
First Step of Sarasota
First Step of Sarasota is a nonprofit organization that provides affordable treatment for substance abuse. In addition to inpatient and outpatient treatment, First Step offers a family safety program for families in jeopardy of losing custody of their children because of substance abuse. This program provides family intervention, outpatient treatment and parenting education. It also offers anger management, substance abuse therapy and case management.
The nonprofit works with Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to engage parents with substance abuse issues to seek treatment while their newborn is in the NICU.
First Step also offers the Early Intervention program, which provides HIV/AIDS education and intervention services.
Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education Task Force
NOPE of Sarasota County educates middle school to college students about the dangers of drug abuse. A network of community leaders visits Sarasota County schools to deliver educational lessons and personal testimonies about substance abuse. During presentations, police officers
talk about the difficult task of delivering death notifications to parents who have lost their children to substance abuse.
Presentations are also available for parents. Community leaders and counselors inform parents of areas where drugs are prevalent, signs of drug use and how they can talk to their children about substance abuse. Parents are encouraged to ask questions or speak privately with a counselor.
The Sarasota Family YMCA
The Sarasota Family YMCA strives to strengthen the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Y collaborates with local community agencies through the Safe Children Coalition, an effort to provide child welfare services to abused, neglected or abandoned children.
The organization offers the Operation Graduation Continuum of Care program, which supports at-risk, minority and disadvantaged youth. These programs target those at risk for becoming involved with gangs, substance abuse or criminal activity.
The Y also provides mentoring, youth development and wellness activities.