P-CASA Inspires and Encourages Healthy Youth

In order to educate youth in Paterson about an above-the-influence experience, Dr. Robert Reid and Dr. Pauline Garcia-Reid created the P-CASA project.

Montclair State University professors build a safe Space through P-CASA!

Photo courtesy of P-Casa.

The Paterson Coalition Against Substance Abuse (P-CASA) consists of researchers, professors, community members, volunteers and youth that try to prevent alcohol and tobacco use in youth ages 12-17 living in Paterson. The project supports campaigns that empower and educate youth to make positive and healthy choices, while  bringing key community sectors together to implement strategies to help Paterson’s youth.

Dr. Robert J. Reid and his wife, Dr. Pauline Garcia-Reid, wrote the proposal for the P-CASA grant together. They were awarded the grant four years ago, through the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Paterson is the third largest New Jersey city, and it has one of the highest rates of substance abuse and drug-related crime. Because of population density and poverty, the city has experienced many social problems over the past few years. P-CASA attempts to fill these gaps in social service. The project is funded by a federal Drug Free Communities grant.

The P-CASA program is partnered with Montclair State University, where Dr. Reid and Dr. Garcia-Reid work. The grant focuses on drug and alcohol prevention in Paterson, N.J. The researches uses data to implement environmental prevention strategies and inform communities about drug, tobacco and alcohol abuse. The Paterson Coalition’s outreach occurs mainly through youth outreach and school-based youth programs. P-CASA even works with local alcohol servers and sellers to prevent the distribution to the youth community.

L.P.C. and doctoral student David Lardier has worked with the grant since the ground level. He was introduced to Dr. Reid four years ago, and the two bonded over their similar research interests.

“I came in to Montclair with an interest in mental illness and substance abuse, primarily in adolescents. And it just so happened that Dr. Reid’s interests aligned with my own,” Ladier said. In discussing P-CASA, Lardier called Reid his “mentor” and spoke highly of the team that made the grant’s immense success possible.

“Dr. Reid and his wife have been a blessing. They have helped me find success as a researcher and a community leader,” Ladier said. Ladier and Dr. Reid have published and presented at conferences together.

Ladier grew up in Nutley, where he knew people who suffered from substance abuse. P-CASA is his first experience with research involving inner-city youth. He previously worked at as a crisis counselor at Claremont Hospital in Belleville, N.J. Ladier is working towards a PhD in Family Studies at Montclair State University.

P-CASA is always looking for volunteers and supporters dedicated to making a difference in the lives of our youth. To learn more about the project or the people, visit p-casa.org or call 973-655-6785.

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