Groton Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention looks for new members
Groton — The Groton Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention has set goals for local policy changes and is looking for new community leaders.
"Two years into the pandemic, GASP leadership is concerned that the community is growing apathetic towards prevention," according to a news release.
“Residents are generally supportive of what we do, but people are exhausted or distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic," Carolyn Wilson, a coordinator for GASP and Ledge Light Health District, said in a statement. "Schools, agencies and families are bombarded with pandemic-related issues. Substance use prevention isn’t standing out as a priority right now, even though many people are aware of concerning behavioral health trends and recognize the impact the pandemic has had on people.”
“Currently, there is support for tobacco and cannabis smoke/vape-free public spaces,” Wilson said. The conversation started this fall at the Parks and Recreation Commission and continued to the Town Council.
“It’s time for community members to speak up about what they want," Wilson added. "Decision makers are listening, and the time is right to move forward on this now.”
A 2020 GASP Community Survey indicated there is "support for strategies that alcohol retailers, bars and restaurants can implement, such as requiring responsible seller/server training and using ID scanners to verify age," according to the release.
GASP is seeking new members, including parents, youth, media representatives, health care providers, youth-serving organization members, government leaders, substance use or mental health counselors, civic and fraternal organizations' members, faith leaders, small-business owners (particularly bars/restaurants and packages stores), military personnel, first responders and education providers.
Membership is voluntary; meetings occur monthly. GASP has subcommittees to help advance its work outside of meetings.
“If there are Groton residents who are passionate about health promotion and public health, there is a place and platform for that passion with GASP,” Wilson added.
GASP's next meeting will be held Feb. 28 at noon via Zoom. People interested in more information about GASP or about becoming a member can contact Wilson at (860) 446-3062 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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