Sharyl Adams, substance abuse prevention specialist for the Chesterfield County Department of Youth Planning and Development, and Wayne Frith, executive director of Substance Abuse Free Environment Inc., better known as SAFE, a coalition working toward the prevention and reduction of substance abuse, presented workshops at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s Annual National Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C., in February.
Since Adams helped establish SAFE in 1999, the nonprofit organization has earned numerous national awards for its effectiveness and innovation, and Adams and Frith have emerged as leaders in the arena of substance-abuse prevention.
SAFE’s initiatives have reduced off-premise alcohol sales to underage buyers from 28 percent in 2007 to 7 percent in 2010 – a 75 percent reduction. Inhalant abuse among eighth-graders (which had been twice the national average) has dropped 63 percent since 2005.
Adams and Frith have spoken to students studying substance abuse issues in an international fellowship program at VCU and other community groups. Inhalant prevention materials they helped develop have been requested by localities across the U.S. and in Taiwan and India.
To recognize exemplary contributions to community engagement for the prevention of substance abuse, the SAFE board of directors established the annual Sharyl W. Adams award in 2009 and named Adams its first recipient.
Frith is also the chairman of the Community Coalitions of Virginia, a statewide coalition of substance abuse prevention organizations that Frith helped form in 2007.
Adams and Frith deflect credit to Chesterfield County and SAFE’s community partners for their commitment to youths and their proactive approach to abuse problems among youths.
“SAFE’s mission is to engage our community in working together to prevent substance abuse. Our partners across many sectors of the community have been key to the positive results we have seen,” Frith said.
For more information, visit chesterfieldsafe.org.