Salem-Cumberland Regional Action Toward Community Health (SCRATCH) is a regional coalition dedicated to eliminating substance abuse in Salem and Cumberland Counties.
SCRATCH is an initiative of The Southwest Council, a substance abuse prevention agency which has been providing substance abuse education and prevention services in Salem and Cumberland Counties for more than 21 years.
The coalition employs environmental strategies to change community norms which might be favorable to substance abuse. For instance, the coalition will work to change the belief that underage drinking is a normal part of growing up by conducting Sticker Shock Campaigns designed to inform adults of the legal consequences of providing alcohol to underage drinkers.
SCRATCH initiatives address three main issues:
- Underage Drinking
- Prescription Drug Abuse across the lifespan
- Illegal Substances with a special emphasis on marijuana use
The coalition is 60 members strong and enjoys good representation at our monthly meetings. The coalition membership is diverse and includes both professionals and volunteers from Salem and Cumberland Counties who are interested in reducing substance abuse in their communities. Members consist of health professionals, school officials, municipal alliance coordinators, religious leaders, parents and youth, to name a few. All are welcome to join the coalition. Coalition members look forward to working to reduce substance abuse in the Salem-Cumberland region for years to come.
Empowering our communities to create a new and dynamic norm by changing the social climate and eradicating substance abuse.
SCRATCH engages community partners in Cumberland and Salem Counties to establish and sustain the environmental changes necessary to eliminate substance use and abuse. We will consistently develop and promote healthy opportunities and permanent change for current and future generations.
The SCRATCH Coalition was founded in January 2012 under a grant from the NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
- Conducted fake-ID training with local alcohol servers and vendors.
- Partnered with the Prosecutor’s Office and other organizations to organize and host “Prescription to Addiction” conference and community event to raise awareness on the growing trend in our county. More than 180 individuals attended the two events.
- Collaborated with two regional coalitions to organize and host a “Truth About Marijuana” conference presented by Dr. Kevin Sabet to increase awareness about the dangers of marijuana. More than 150 individuals attended the conference.
- Advocated for and secured a permanent prescription drug drop box at Lower Alloways Creek Police Department through the Project Medicine Drop Program. We are continuously working to get more drop boxes installed across Salem and Cumberland counties.
- Created magnets with Salem county drop box locations and provided them to every pharmacy in the county to hand out to their customers.
- Conducted and Underage Drinking Town Hall Meeting in Pennsville the week of prom, where the police chief, high school principal and the Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute presented.
- Collaborated with another regional coalition and a Drug Free Communities coalition on a multi-media campaign including billboards, mall kiosks, newspaper ads and radio spots geared toward the prevention of underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and marijuana use. Ads will be seen and heard in Cumberland and Salem County through June 2015.
- Installed temporary “Pinwheels for Prevention” displays Pennsville Memorial High School and Woodstown High School to raise awareness about underage drinking during homecoming season. 430 neon pinwheels accompanied by signs with underage drinking statistics were placed on the front lawns of the schools.
- Worked with local businesses on a prom initiative where parents were provided a postcard asking them to complete a brief survey for data collection purposes. Parents who completed the survey were entered into a drawing for either a free corsage, tux rental, or
- Partnered with local liquor stores and engaged youth in several “Sticker Shock” Campaigns to remind consumers about the consequences of purchasing for those under 21.
- Conducted letter writing campaigns to local legislators to enact laws that would benefit drug and alcohol prevention efforts in the counties
- Advocated that municipal ordinances be enacted that require servers and retailers of alcohol to participate in Fake ID Trainings.
- Partnered with local businesses and high schools to conduct underage drinking awareness efforts during prom and graduation seasons.
- Worked with the Cumberland County Healthy Communities Coalition to conduct outreach to local funeral homes encouraging an addition or modification to existing policy which would require funeral home staff to alert families of how and where to dispose of the deceased Rx medications.
Our Most Involved Community Partners
Inspira Health Network, Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, Tobacco Free for a Healthy NJ Southern Region, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, Salem City Police Department, Cumberland County Drug Court, Daytop Village, Pennsville Memorial High School, Salem Health and Wellness Foundation, Cumberland County Department of Social Services, SODAT, Salem County Department of Social Services, Salem County Health Department, South Jersey Family Medical Center, First Step Clinic, Pennsville MAPSA, Ranch Hope, Elmer United Methodist Church, Cornerstone Women’s Health Services, Cumberland/Salem Department of Mental Health, Cumberland County Guidance Center, Cumberland County Youth Services Advisory Council, parents, youth, volunteers and more!