Regional Policy and Norms Workgroup


Ilana Gerjuoy (CTC Contact – group is co-chaired by the SPIFFY Coalition)

Ilana (at sign) frcog (period) org

The Regional Policy and Norms Workgroup meets every other month via Zoom.

Meeting Minutes dating back to 2017 can be found HERE.

Find our “Menu of Policy Options” HERE.

Click HERE for a link to a recording of our recent meeting on Cannabis Social Cafes and Home Delivery featuring guest speakers: Margaret Hurley, from the Attorney General’s Central MA Division and Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) legislative team Dave Koffman and Ali DiMatteo.

What we do

The Regional Policy and Norms Workgroup (formerly the Policy and Practice Change Workgroup) brings together public health officials, town officials, law enforcement, the courts, and partners who wish to create policy-level change for substance abuse prevention. The group focuses on the following risk factors:

  • community laws and norms favorable to substance use
  • perceived risk of harm from substance use

Core programs & practices that directly support the workgroup’s goals

Many of these strategies are organized or coordinated by the workgroup:

  • Provide education on effects of substances on developing brain, and local policy implications (including Physiology of Addiction video)
  • Conduct alcohol compliance checks & coordinate with tobacco, paraphernalia, and other checks
  • Provide alcohol beverage server training
  • Promote Rx drug drop boxes and Take-Back Days
  • Strengthen partnership with Recover Project & work to become a sober-friendly community
  • Assess progress and share best-practices in trauma-informed practices (Pending future funding)

Some of the programs & practices led by other groups, including CTC partner members, that are most closely allied with the workgroup’s goals:  

  • Municipal policies & enforcement for preventing underage drinking and youth substance use 
  • Municipal policies & enforcement for preventing youth marijuana and other substance use – Retail Marijuana Basics Hand-Out here.
  • Comprehensive tobacco policies & enforcement on state and local level 
  • Work to become a trauma-informed community
  • Above the Influence, social norms marketing and other campaigns (see Youth Leadership Initiative work for more details!)
  • Social justice work 
  • State Without StigMA campaign 
  • Scope of Pain Trainings 
  • Safe Prescriber Pledge
  • Opioid & other drug education for all student athletes 
  • Signage for local parks re: smoking and vaping

And just why do we care about these community norms?

Young people who believe adults in their community think underage drinking is wrong are less likely to drink than young people who think adults don’t care. Similarly, young people who think alcohol is difficult to obtain are less likely to report drinking than their peers who find it easy to access alcohol. Here’s what our local data show:

Only 16% of local young people who believe adults in their community think underage drinking is very wrong report recent use of alcohol — whereas more than half of those who believe adults think underage drinking is a little bit wrong or not wrong at all report recent drinking.
Only 8% of local young people who say it is very hard to get alcohol report recent drinking, as compared to 52% of those who say it is very easy.

Responsible server training 

CTC sponsors training for staff in licensed alcohol establishments to promote best practices to prevent intoxication, drunk driving and underage drinking. CTC brings Massachusetts Package Stores Association (“MassPack”) Alcohol Server Training to the area to train off-premise staff, and Training for Intervention Procedures (“TIPS”) to train on-premise staff. On January 23, 2017, the latest round of server trainings hosted by the CTC will be held at the John Olver Transit Center in Greenfield.  Participants received training in acceptable forms of identification, how to recognize fake and altered IDs, how to handle intoxicated and problem customers, preventing second party sales (when legal age persons purchase alcohol for underage people) and regulations that govern the sale of alcohol. The training provides clerks and servers skills to do their jobs safely and legally, and gives them the certification their employers require to obtain liability insurance for their establishments.

The Policy and Practice Change Workgroup will be scheduling additional MassPack and TIPS seminars in the coming year. To inquire about training, contact Ilana Gerjuoy.