Since 2001, the Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA), Inc. has existed as a resource to reduce underage drinking and substance abuse among Manhasset youth. CASA’s tag line “Prevention through Connection” points to its mission to reach youth before they are in trouble by connecting parents, school and the community as partners in this common goal. According to Cathy Samuels, project director of CASA, “It’s the word ‘connect’ that makes a difference for CASA. Its partners are coalition members whose input and commitment are vital to helping young people make healthy and responsible choices.”
CASA receives a Drug Free Communities Grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is a 501 © (3) tax exempt corporation. “Collaboration is key to sustaining our mission outside of our current federal funding,” adds Samuels who explains that CASA is made up of representatives from key sectors of the Manhasset community as well as county, state and national organizations.
Efforts by CASA range from collecting and disposing of pharmaceuticals to holding Red Ribbon, Health and Wellness and National Drug Facts Week awareness programs. Other efforts include implementing social marketing campaigns such as Underage Drinking Not a Minor Problem to educate parents about the harmful effects underage drinking has on a teen’s brain as well as Lock Your Meds Be Aware Don’t Share to educate about the dangers and availability of prescription drugs in the home.
In January 2013, Manhasset Public School students in grades 8, 10 and 12 participated in the Bach Harrison Online Prevention Needs Assessment Survey that evaluated current youth substance abuse conditions and factors. Results showed reductions in underage drinking in the 8th grade and 10th grade as well as a reduction in marijuana use in 12th grade—an overall decline in youth substance abuse since CASA started. “We are proud of our accomplishments since 2001 and look forward to continued collaboration with our partners to ensure the safety of our youth,” states Lisbeth Shibley, board president and executive director of Manhasset CASA.
If you are interested in donating your time or resources, please call 516-267-7548. CASA welcomes all residents to help its efforts to reduce substance abuse. CASA’s offices are located in Manhasset High School. The website is www.manhassetcasa.org