Working together to

prevent substance abuse

in Chesterfield County, VA


What's New

Young Adult Survey


This totally anonymous survey is an important part of the Virginia Strategic Prevention Framework Project that is working to design and implement prevention efforts in this community to decrease the number of motor vehicle crashes with drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 who have been drinking.  It is important for us to know the general patterns of alcohol use, perceptions of risk of drinking and of driving after drinking, and alcohol availability.  We hope you will help us learn information that will help us decrease the number of drinking and driving crashes that occur in this community. 

All responses are voluntary and you may skip any questions you do not want to answer.  By participating in this survey we assume your consent.  We estimate this survey to take less than 10 minutes.

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SAFE's 2014 Annual Meeting was a huge success!SAFE's 2014 Annual Meeting was a huge success!

Nearly 70 community partners and friends attended SAFE's 2014 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, October 21 at the Community Ideas Station. The event was a celebration of the accomplishments of the past year and an opportunity for vision casting. Highlights included the introduction of several new board members, presentations of  upcoming and continuing community strategies, honoring our award recipients and a challenge to "Come Grow With Us" by investing time, energy and monetary resources to continue the work of SAFE in the community. 

The 2014 Sharyl W. Adams Award, an annual award recognizing “exemplary contribution to community engagement for the prevention of substance abuse,” was given to Lt. Jay Thornton of the Chesterfield County Police Department for his medication take back efforts. Over a two-year period, Lt. Thornton grew the program to include take back locations at several sites including: Chesterfield County Police department locations and at the government complex, Chesterfield County libraries, Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital sites; and at both of the John Tyler Community College campuses of Chester and Midlothian. Under Lt. Thornton's skillful care, nearly six tons of unused prescription and expired over-the-counter medications have been collected. This effective environmental strategy has kept our water clean and reduced the access of these drugs for potential abuse. Thank you, Lt. Thornton for your passion and committment.

The 2014 SAFE Media Award is given to an individual in the media who has been a catalyst in getting SAFE’s name and mission out into the public sector. Michele Bulthuis, TV and DIgital Account Executive for WRLH Fox Richmond/My TV Richmond, was this year's recipient. Through Ms. Bulthuis' ingenuity and proactivity, FOX and SAFE partnered on the 2013 Lights Camera Take Action Campaign, a contest which encourages high school students and young adults to create informative PSA's targeting the prevention of alcohol and substance abuse. Joint efforts in this campaign allowed SAFE to have a greater reach to young adults in the prevention of drinking and driving with the "Drinks Cost More Than You Think" PSA, created as part of the Strategic Prevention Framework-State Incentive Grant. Thank you, Ms. Bulthuis and to Fox Richmond!

Click here to enjoy our 2013-2014 Annual Report! 


SAFE Latino Coalition Launched-Next Meeting October 29, 2014SAFE Latino Coalition Launched-Next Meeting October 29, 2014

 The SAFE Latino Coalition, serving the central Virginia region, has officially launched. Twenty-five community members participated at this inaugural event featuring Tony Fajardo, coordinator for Futuro Latino Coalition, a two-year-old coalition in Harrisonburg, Va., that addresses alcohol-related issues among Latinos. Fajardo discussed how to grow a successful Latino coalition by recognizing the common core Latino values, especially in relation to the wide variety of cultures which exists within this diverse community.

Come be a part of this new group. Our next meeting is Wednesday, October 29, 3 -5p.m. at Meadowdale Library, 4301 Meadowdale Blvd., North Chesterfield.  

Click here for meeting dates.

The meeting will be held in Spanish and translated into English depending on the needs of the group. This meeting is open to Latinos and non-Latinos from Chesterfield County and surrounding areas. Juan Santacoloma, Chesterfield County Multi-Cultural Liaison, is the coalition coordinator. 

Next Medication Take-Back is September 27, 2014 Next Medication Take-Back is September 27, 2014

It's time to clean out those medicine cabinents once again and do your part in protecting our community! Turn in your unused and expired prescriptions and over-the-counter medications at our next Medication Take-Back on Saturday, September 27 from 10a.m.- 2p.m. at John Tyler Community College, Chester Campus, 13101 Jefferson Davis Highway, Chester, Va. 23231.  Remember, it's a no-questions asked policy. Just drop off what you don't need anymore. Chesterfield Police will ensure that all medications collected undergo proper disposal. We look forward to seeing you there.  

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Stop Youth Access of Tobacco and Nicotine ProductsStop Youth Access of Tobacco and Nicotine Products

Beginning July 1, 2014 retailers are banned from selling electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products to minors. This new legislation also mandates that all retailers post a sign with the updated language stating that the sale of e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine products to any person under 18 years of age is prohibited by law. SAFE Tobacco Taskforce is doing a Merchant Education Initiative during the summer months in which they are visiting designated merchants and supplying them with information, education and tools relating to the July 1 law.  For more tools and tips about this law, visit  

Click here to see a powerful ad regarding kids and smoking.

Marijuana conference held March 13-14Marijuana conference held March 13-14

The legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes is a controversial topic around the nation. On March 13 and 14, SAFE and Community Coalitions of Virginia hosted "Marijuana? Virginia's Big Question!" in Richmond. The conference featured local and national speakers who addressed potential consequences of legalization from medical, educational and policy viewpoints. Click here for speakers, here for a power point with Virginia and local statistics about marijuana and here for Danielle Dick's presentation on the genetic influenences of addiction, and here for a list of marijuana resources.

Drinks Could Cost More Than You Think

SAFE is running a media campaign to create awareness of the cost of a DUI. The campaign is focused on preventing alcohol-related crashes among young adults 18-26 years old. SAFE is also partnerting with state and local police to increase enforcement. Click on the picture to view the commercial. Click here for costs of receiving a DUI.

SAFE receives 2014 Dose of Prevention award

SAFE was recognized for increasing awareness of the dangers of over-the-counter cough medicine abuse on February 6 with the 2014 Dose of Prevention Award. Presented by the Mr. Scott Melville, CEO of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (on the left in the picture) and Gen. Arthur Dean, CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (on the right), the award included a $1500 cash prize and the production of a five-minute video about SAFE's medication abuse prevention efforts, which was shown at the awards ceremony. To view the video, click here.

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Prevent cough medicine abuse

The percentage of youths in Chesterfield County abusing over-the-counter  medicines containing the chemical DXM (a cough suppressant) is more than three times the national average (click here for statistics). DXM is an ingredient in more than 100 cough and combined cough/cold medicines in the form of liquids, capsules, tablets and lozenges. Parents should look for the message pictured above, which is printed on the packaging of all medicines containing DXM. Keep these medicines secure, monitor quantities and talk to your children about the dangers of abuse.

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SAFE recognizes its champions

SAFE recently presented Juan Santacoloma, Chesterfield County's Multicultural Liaison, with the Sharyl W. Adams Award, an annual award recognizing "exemplary contribution to community engagement for the prevention of substance abuse" for his assistance in connecting SAFE with the Latino community. Michelle Burchett of Chesterfield County Public Affairs received the Media Champion Award and Glen Miller received the 21st Century Champion Award. SAFE applauds the contributions these persons have made to the work of the coalition.


SAFE holds Lock Your Meds® campaign

Are you making it easier for  teens to abuse medications? Seventy percent of teens who abuse medications say they get them from family or friends. Protect young people from abusing medications by securing them in a locked container or cabinet. Click here for information about an inexpensive lock box. Click here to view SAFE's print ad and here for the cable ad. Click here for more information about medication abuse. Lock Your Meds ® is an initiative of National Family Partnership.

A Personal Story

Michelle Anderson, an active member of SAFE, told her story at Journey Christian Church and has courageously agreed to share her story with a wider audience. Many teens in a recent focus group answered the question "What would it take for your friends NOT to drink alcohol?" with "serious injury or death of someone they love." Watch the video of Michelle's story here. She hopes others will learn from her experience and be spared the heartbreak she brought on herself and others.