History of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck RADAR Coalition - 1994-2008
In 1994 a group of concerned parents met with the Mamaroneck High School Drug and Alcohol Counselor to express their concerns about the prevalence of drinking among our teens. From that initial meeting, a school-based task force was created to begin addressing the growing problem of underage drinking. The founding group, led by the high school drug and alcohol counselor, was made up of school personnel, parents, local youth police officers, and the Director of the local Community Counseling Center.
In 1996 the task force was officially designated, R.A.D.A.R. (Responsible Action: A Drug and Alcohol Resource). Over the next several years R.A.D.A.R. assisted in initiating many school-based programs, designed to increase knowledge for both students and parents of the dangers of substance use and abuse, and to provide parenting advice and support on these issues. However, though increased knowledge of substance use and abuse is of utmost importance and is a necessary component of prevention efforts, education alone is not powerful enough to bring about change. Proof of this was seen in the results of the Communities That Care (CTC) Teen Survey which the Mamaroneck School District administered to 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in spring 2002 and again in spring 2006. The data from both surveys revealed that despite our prevention efforts thus far, underage drinking and drug use among our youth was very alarming and remaining above the national average for alcohol and marijuana use. Many questions were raised on what more could be done to change this trend.
The results of a definitive study on underage drinking provided the answers. Released in 2003 the national report, "Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility", set the stage for a major shift in the nation's approach to prevention. The study concluded that in order to be successful in reducing underage drinking we must focus, not on youth alone, but on adults and society at large, and that the commitment to reduce underage drinking requires participation by multiple individuals and organizations at the national, state, local, and community levels who are in a position to affect youth decisions- including parents and other adults, alcohol producers, wholesalers and retail outlets, restaurants and bars, entertainment media, government, community organizations, houses of worship, physicians and youth themselves.
R.A.D.A.R., along with hundreds of other community coalitions across the US, has adopted this "multiple strategies over multiple sectors" approach to prevention. R.A.D.A.R. has actively worked to expand its membership to include a broad representation of individuals and organizations. It is our collective strength and resolve that will empower us as a community to change the culture and social norms in Larchmont-Mamaroneck regarding tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs so that our youth will make positive choices to avoid substance use. The R.A.D.A.R. Coalition serves as a catalyst, convener, and facilitator for community-wide efforts to develop and implement strategies that are visible, measurable and effective. Over the past two years, these strategies have focused on public policy change, community awareness, education, law enforcement, alternative activities, treatment and services.
As of October 2008 R.A.D.A.R. became a not-for-profit corporation. Our official new name is Larchmont-Mamaroneck RADAR, Inc. (LM RADAR). This is an important step for the viability of the Coalition and helps support its sustainability as a resource for the Larchmont-Mamaroneck community.
LM RADAR is supported by the SAMHSA Drug Free Communities Support Program Grant which it received fall 2006. The grant is renewable for 5 years and is awarded to promising coalitions to support their growth, sustainability and mission to reduce substance use among youth.