The BHcare Greater Valley Substance Abuse Action Council (VSAAC) is a public/private partnership comprised of community leaders and citizens who develop and carry out strategies to reduce alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in the Naugatuck Valley, Greater New Haven and surrounding communities. VSAAC offers a variety of interactive workshops and presentations for youth and adults, as well as resource materials, curricula, training programs, referrals, and other information about drug abuse, alcohol, and tobacco that can help parents, children, and the larger community become better aware and equipped to combat the intrusion of these harmful substances in their daily lives.
VSAAC offers a wide variety of nationally recognized, award-winning education and prevention youth programs to help youth learn about the dangers of substance abuse, underage drinking, and tobacco use and avoidance. VSAAC’s youth programs are interactive, culturally sensitive, targeted for a wide variety of age ranges and audience sizes, and can be customized to fit your school/group/organization’s specific needs.
Alcohol remains the leading drug problem among our nation’s youth and is the drug of choice for young people, with earlier and earlier initiation of consumption not uncommonly found in children as young as 11 or 12 years of age. Recent alcohol and substance abuse surveys in our local communities report little or no reductions in alcohol use among 11th and 12th graders and an alarming equity among male and female student drinking rates; whereas nationally, female students have reported lower drinking rates than males. Because of these frightening facts, VSAAC to prioritize the fight against underage drinking in the Naugatuck Valley and Greater New Haven.
Research suggests that the most effective factor in preventing youth substance abuse is the involvement and awareness of a parent/guardian and members of the larger community. VSAAC has always understood this and has designed programs to work with parents, community members, and young people to educate them about alcohol, tobacco, and substance abuse issues and teach effective strategies for prevention.
VSAAC provides customizable workshops for parents, businesses, schools, educators and community organizations on a variety of substance abuse and risky behavior topics. Many of our trainings and/or workshops offer CEU opportunities, including CCB (CT Certification Board), CHES (Certified Health Educator Specialist), and NASW (National Association of Social Workers) – pending. VSAAC is a CEU provider for the Connecticut State Department of Education. In addition, VSAAC staff have been trained to implement various curricula such as, but not limited to, Second Step, Project Alert, and LifeSkills.
VSAAC works closely with key stakeholders involved in the community coalition: schools, churches, business groups, and social/human service agencies. It also maintains strong collaborative relationships with the Local Prevention Councils who are many of the members on the prevention committee. These groups work to: