PATERSON, NJ- When Dr. Robert Reid founded the Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA) in 2013, the goal was simple but powerful, to stop alcohol, tobacco, and drug use among Paterson’s youth through outreach, education, community empowerment, and collaboration.

Today, thanks to a 5-year $125,000 Drug-Free Community grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Dr. Reid and his team are able to continue pursuing P-CASA’s meaningful mission.

Dr. Reid, a professor at Montclair State University and P-CASA’s director, explained that the funds enable P-CASA to develop programs, complete research initiatives, and bring on the necessary support to help the city’s youth. He commended the federal government for its continued investment in the city of Paterson. “The Drug-Free Community (DFC) grant is evidence that our elected leaders recognize the powerful impact of organizations like P-CASA,” he explained.

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The funds, he continued,  will enable P-CASA to continue working with and within the Paterson community to eliminate underage drinking, tobacco, and substance use, and to reduce the negative outcomes of these behaviors.

“The cornerstone of our efforts has always been strong partnerships with Paterson students, parents, civic associations, faith-based organizations, schools, social service agencies, law enforcement, and media,” Dr. Reid said. “The DFC grant will further empower this influential in-city network to move Paterson’s youth toward positive outcomes.”

Considering recent statistics, it’s critical to have organizations like P-CASA fighting for Paterson’s youth. A recent P-CASA study revealed that 40% of Paterson youth have used tobacco products in the last 30 days and nearly 30% started smoking before 12 years of age. The Coalition also uncovered that 50% of Paterson youth have drank alcohol and smoked marijuana.

To turn these statistics around, P-CASA encourages the community to get involved. “We can’t do this alone,” asserts Andriana Herrera, P-CASA’s Coordinator who is responsible for bringing together individuals and organizations in the community. “It is crucial that the community join with us to have the biggest positive impact on our city’s youth.”

There are many ways to get involved:

  • Attend our next P-CASA meeting on January 17th at the Paterson Public Library. We meet every other month on the 3rd Thursday.

  • Participate in a P-CASA subcommittee or working group

  • Provide access to survey participants

  • Help distribute prevention messages and materials

  • Advocate for policies and ordinances that align with P-CASA’s goals and mission

  • Provide insight and solutions to community concerns

  • Represent P-CASA at community events and meetings

  • Recruit community members to join and participate as P-CASA members


P-CASA’s influence on Paterson can be seen in their high-impact billboards, creative Sticker Shock campaign, and insightful research reports. Visit the P-CASA website for more information about these and other P-CASA initiatives.


TAPinto Paterson is proud to support P-CASA's as a media partner. Follow us on Facebook and sign up for TAPinto Paterson E-News alerts to get updates on their efforts to keep Paterson youth away from drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

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