Elected Officials

The places where people live, work and go to school can greatly influence the health of community members.  Local decision-makers — working alongside residents, community coalitions, businesses and other leaders — can make their communities healthier by addressing substance use issues and advocating for strong prevention programs in their communities and schools.

What Can Elected Officials Do to Support Drug-Free Communities?

  • Get informed about the scope of the substance use problem in your community.

Elected officials are well aware of the problems that confront their communities, but may not be familiar with how alcohol and other drug use effects local residents. 

Click here to see statistics for youth in your school district http://healthvermont.gov/research/yrbs/2013/district_results.aspx

Find statistics for adults in your region/community:

Information on risk behaviors in Vermont including alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug use from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system.  Reported by each Health Department District Office region.

Substance Abuse Treatment data for all ages, gender, county & substances 

Your local community coalition or Prevention Consultant can present to your board or commission about the substance use issues in the community. View Coalition Map

  • Support implementation and enforcement of alcohol and drug control policies including:
    • Municipalities in Vermont have the ability to restrict the locations of any retailer selling products that minors may not purchase or possess, including marijuana retailers.
    • Strong and clear regulations to limit the number and location of alcohol, tobacco, paraphernalia and marijuana outlets within towns/cities.
    • Monitoring alcohol & tobacco retailers to ensure minors are not being served;
    • Passing ordinances to guarantee smoke-free places in public areas and at community events;
    • Ensuring the town has policies governing use of alcohol in public buildings and at community events.
    • Enact and enforce Social host liability laws – strict penalties and fines for furnishing alcohol, or other drugs to minors. (Most underage alcohol and tobacco sales are known sales (id is stores.)
  • Carefully Monitor alcohol and tobacco licenses and licensees to prevent sales to minors.

Click here to see results from compliance checks conducted by the VT Department of Liquor Control http://liquorcontrol.vermont.gov/enforcement/compliance

Click here to see if any stores in your town have had their license suspended http://liquorcontrol.vermont.gov/enforcement/suspendedlicenses

  • Implement strict restrictions on advertising and promotion- that include, but may not be limited to: sponsorships or depictions in public entertainment venues.
  • Use your resources to educate youth and adults about the risks of drug abuse (including prescription misuse) and excessive drinking.
  • Some communities include articles and notices in community newsletters, on town websites and in the annual Town Report and tax bills
  • Support community efforts to prevent substance use and community activities that promote healthy behaviors – join your local community coalition or start one!  View Coalition Map
  • Do not allow alcohol to be sold or advertised at public events.
  • Work with media outlets and retailers to reduce alcohol, tobacco and marijuana marketing to youth.
  • Increase awareness on the proper storage and disposal of prescription medications.

If there is not a location near you, consider creating one in partnership with your local police department or Sheriff’s office.

  • Consider prevention strategies to minimize problems on high-risk holidays (for example New Years Eve, 4th of July and Halloween).  Some communities have extra law enforcement on patrol, host substance-free events as an alternative and request traffic stops/sobriety check points.
  • Help secure additional funding sources to support your community’s prevention efforts—either by allocating local government funds or by promoting the importance of substance abuse prevention work to potential funders.