(Rockland County, NY) March 13, 2023 – Rockland Community College is proud to announce the resurrection of Drug Awareness Day, a critical event aimed at tackling the rising public health concerns of today’s youth in Rockland County.

On Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., high school students from all over Rockland County will gather at the Rockland Community College Cultural Arts Center for the event, which aims to inform the community and address rising wellness issues for young adults in modern times, such as the opioid crisis, the legalization of marijuana, and underage drinking.

According to the County Opioid Quarterly Report for New York State (NYS) Counties, published in January 2023, Rockland County reported 62 opioid overdoses in 2021 compared to 40 in 2020. And New York recently became the 15th state to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in 2021. According to the NYS Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey report, 10.6% of New York youth – 18 to 24 years of age – are reported to use e-cigarettes.

Rockland Community College Officer in Charge, Dr. Susan Deer stated, “We are thrilled to bring back Drug Awareness Day after a long hiatus to continue serving the community and address public health concerns for our youth. The event will provide students with the tools and knowledge they need to make informed decisions as they face critical issues.”

The public health event had previously been hosted by a collaboration of several Rockland County Town counseling centers and housed at Rockland Community College for over a decade until it ended in 2004 due to the closing of some of the counseling centers and the ending of grant funding. RCC is proud to bring back this event after a hiatus of almost two decades to continue serving the community and addressing important issues.

RCC worked with local high schools to choose fifteen student representatives from – Suffern High School, Clarkstown North High School, Clarkstown South High School, Nyack High School, Pearl River High School, Tappan Zee High School, Nanuet High School, North Rockland High School, Ramapo High School, and Spring Valley High School, and P-Tech High School – to attend Drug Awareness Day.

Students will have the opportunity to attend informative sessions and learn from knowledgeable experts. In addition to the workshops and guest speakers, attendees will have the chance to meet other high school students from across the County, take home some cool swag, enjoy a free lunch, and get to know the friendly staff and students at Rockland Community College.

The event will feature workshops on a variety of public health concerns, including:

Marijuana & Edibles: What you need to know about the effects of marijuana and the new laws, including a discussion on vaping and the use of smokeless tobacco.

Feeling “Blue”: Explore depression and mental health concerns for teens and young adults, including symptoms and ways to support a friend or oneself.

Relationships: Navigating relationships with friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. can be challenging, especially in high school. Learn about how to handle these relationships and what to do if things go astray.

Euphoria & LGBTQ+ Concerns: The impact of the popular HBO show on LGBTQ+ students: exploring the potential benefits and concerns.

The Opioid Crisis: What is causing so much death for American youth after a night of fun? What you need to know about Fentanyl and other opioids.

When Relationships Hurt: Alcohol and sexual assault often go hand in hand. Learn what you can do to help someone you know who may be in an abusive relationship or situation.

Guest speakers for the event include:

  • Judge Patrick Loftus, Orangetown Town Justice
  • Janet Silva, Rockland County Department of Mental Health
  • Nicole Salati, SUNY Rockland Community College
  • Alex Francisco, Rockland Pride Center
  • Kathleen Carney, Lexington Center for Recovery
  • Edelis Travieso, Center for Safety and Change

For more information about Drug Awareness Day, you contact Stacy Casden, Assistant Professor Psychology Department and Coordinator of the CASAC Program, by phone at 845-574-4312 or 914-572-7833.


About Rockland Community College
Rockland Community College (RCC), located in Suffern New York, provides purpose driven educational opportunities in a supportive, affordable, and accessible environment, empowering individuals to positively transform themselves and their communities. RCC welcomes students from diverse backgrounds who appreciate small class sizes and personal attention from a distinguished, award-winning faculty that includes Fulbright scholars and SUNY Distinguished Professors. Many graduates go on to top universities to further their education on their own or through RCCs institutional collaborations. RCC is also proud to provide career training and professional development to adult learners looking to change careers or upgrade their skills through a variety of programs and educational opportunities including workforce training, certifications, and microcredentials. Many of the programs are developed with employers in the community in high demand industry areas to enable graduates to move into a new career upon graduation. More information can be found at sunyrockland.edu.

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