What We Stand For

The mission of the Drug-Free Caroline Coalition is to engage the members of our community in prevention efforts toward changing community attitudes and behaviors that have supported youth substance use/abuse in Caroline County.

Our Purpose

The Coalition is specifically organized and shall be operated for the purpose of empowering and supporting our youth in making positive, healthy and alcohol/drug/tobacco-free choices in their lives.

Our Goals

  • Establish and strengthen collaboration among Caroline County communities, private nonprofit agencies, and Federal/State/local governments to support the efforts of our coalition to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth; and
  • Reduce substance abuse among youth in Caroline County and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in the community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

Meet Our Team

Melanie Rodriguez

Melanie Rodriguez

Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist

The State Mandate

In 2009, the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration (ADAA) was awarded funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to develop and implement the Maryland Strategic Prevention Framework (MSPF). Led by the MSPF Advisory Committee; three active work groups: the State Epidemiology Outcomes Work Group (SEOW), Cultural Competence Work Group and Evidence Based Practices Work Group met regularly to develop recommendations for MSPF priorities, activities, policies, practices, and guiding principles. Upon approval by the MSPF Advisory Council, the priorities, activities, policies, practices, and principles were incorporated into the MSPF Strategic Plan.
The overall goal of this effort is centered around facilitating a systematic data driven approach to generating and monitoring priorities for prevention in Maryland and maintains that this prevention should:
• Be outcomes based,
• Be public health-oriented,
• Use epidemiological data.

For a more in-depth view into the thinking, method and goals of the MSPF, please log onto:adaa.dhmh.maryland.gov/mspf/SitePages/Home.aspx

Each Maryland County was asked to select (at least one) of the following MSPF Priorities, based on the following indicators, in which to address:
• Reduce the number of youth, ages 12-20, reporting past month alcohol use
• Reduce the number of young persons, ages 18-25, reporting past month binge drinking
• Reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes involving youth ages 16-25

The following is the MSPF Community Logic Model, addressing each priority:

(for Intervening Variables/Contributing Factors & Evidence Based Strategies, Programs, Policies & Practices – these are examples – targeted contributing factors, strategies and programs will vary by community and be selected by each MSPF community)

A. High incidence of alcohol use by MD youth under age 21

B. Intervening Variables/Contributing Factors

  1. Enforcement of alcohol-related laws
  2. Commercial and social availability of alcohol to youth
  3. Community attitudes toward alcohol use
  4. Youth perceptions of the dangers of alcohol use
  5. Familiy use and attitudes towards alcohol use

C. Evidence Based Strategies, Programs, Policies & Practices

  1. Rigorous enforcement of MLDA and other alcohol laws
  2. Compliance checks
  3. Community mobilization to address community and institutional underage drinking norms and attitudes
  4. Normative education emphasizing that most adolescents don’t use Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs (ATOD)
  5. Parent programs stressing setting clear rules against drinking, enforcing those rules and monitoring child’s behavior

A. High incidence of binge drinking by youth ages 18-25

B. Intervening Variables/Contributing Factors 1-5 (same as of the above)

  1. Early onset of alcohol and/or drug use

C. Evidence Based Strategies, Programs, Policies & Practices

  1. Establishment or more enforcement of underage drinking party, keg registration, adult provider and social host laws
  2. Alcohol excise taxes to reduce economic availability
  3. Education programs that follow social influence models and include setting norms, addressing social pressure to use and resistance skills
  4. Multi-component programs that involve the individual, family, school and community
  5. Interventions that identify and provide treatment for adolescents already using
You, the citizens of Caroline County, are always invited to attend our monthly meetings, held on the first Tuesday of each month, 12:00 noon until 1:30 p.m. at the Denton Library on the 2nd floor.

However, your input and ideas on how we can spread the message through various means, including education are desired and would be greatly appreciated. I am always willing to meet with you, to present at your church, civic event, meeting, youth event, etc.
Feel free to contact me: Melanie Rodriguez, Drug and Alcohol Prevention Specialist for Caroline County. My number is 410-479-8164 / direct line (feel free to leave a message) as well as email: info@drugfreecaroline.org

Based on the MSPF Community Logic Model, it is believed that by providing culturally competent, evidence based prevention strategies and programming in our communities, the state will impact a number of key contributing factors for these priorities and, as a result, prevent and reduce the incidence of these problems.

As for Caroline County, the prevention office hosted a Drug Free Caroline Coalition (DFCC) meeting in February 2011 (under the leadership of Karen Bishop, Prevention Coordinator through 2012) to be briefed on the details of the MSPF assessment announcement, which resulted in the formation of a local MSPF Planning Group.
Through those beginnings and up to the present, it was decided to focus on Underage Drinking and Alcohol Crashes. Through a rigorous process of data gathering, meetings and reports, the state approved Caroline County’s MSPF Implementation Plan (under the leadership of Tony Gianninoto, MSPF Coordinator, through Sept. 2013).




  • Implement an education strategy targeting different age groups both in school and in the community

Stronger Law Enforcement

  • Partner with alcohol vendors to educate and support them to protect our youth
  • Provide card readers and compliance checks to reduce incidents of sales to minors
  • Promote the implementation of Social Hosting Law/Ordinance in the County

Social Marketing/Media Campaign

  • Media campaigns to increase awareness among community members about the impact of youth substance use
  • Collaboration with youth to provide peer-to-peer campaign for education and awareness

Pro-social Youth Alternatives

  • Partner with local businesses and organizations to sponsor youth activities
  • Facilitate youth planned activities
  • Educational/awareness efforts conducted by youth in schools and community