With the new school year having begun, our focus and attention shifts yet again to how we can better serve our youth in the community. For the Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition (BPAC), our focus is primarily on preventing youth substance use, followed by reducing substance use/misuse throughout the community. We cannot accomplish this without the help and support of our community partners and members, and for that we are so grateful.
In the last 20 years, studies and scans have given us so much new information about the developing brain. We know now that the human brain does not complete development until our mid-twenties, with the frontal lobes being the final area of growth during the teen years. The frontal lobes are responsible for what is known as “executive” functions: judgment, planning, insight, abstract thought, and self-awareness. Our decision-making processes, along with the ways in which we assess situations for risk and engage with others are all part of this developmental process happening within the brain during adolescence. We know that use of alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs can slow down – and even alter – the connections being made in the brain. This is why BPAC’s mission is so vitally important. We want all the youth of our community to reach their full potential. By preventing them from starting or experimenting with any form of substance use, we help to ensure that their brains have the chance to complete their development, free from harm or interruption.
As mentioned earlier, BPAC cannot accomplish its goals without the partnership of our community members. For the last four years, our local vendors of tobacco and nicotine products have been 100% compliant with the regulations preventing the sale of tobacco or nicotine products to minors . The most recent SYNAR Survey completed by BHDDH specifically identified five of our establishments who are 100% compliant:
• Champs Discount Liquors
• Corkscrew Wine & Spirits
• Country Farms – Pascoag
• Country Farms – Mapleville
• New England Farms of Rhode Island/Sunoco
The BPAC would like to acknowledge the great work being done by these establishments in preventing our youth from accessing tobacco and nicotine products! Thank You!!
Monica A. Blanchette
Coordinator – Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition