The Alliance for Better Communities (formerly known as the Rapid Response Coalition) was established in February 2012 in response to an increasing synthetic drug problem in Jefferson County, New York. Representatives from business, media, healthcare, non-profits, law enforcement, local government, parents, and concerned citizens convened to work together to curtail the problem. In October 2012, after successfully working with the Jefferson County Legislature to sign into law a local ordinance banning the sale, possession, and distribution of synthetic drugs on October 2, 2012, members decided to continue operations and to re-focus efforts toward two prioritized problems: prescription drug abuse and overdose prevention and youth alcohol use and abuse problems.

In 2013, the Alliance actively worked on a number of interventions addressing prescription drug abuse and overdose prevention and reducing youth alcohol problems. The Alliance delineated and achieved many of its goals, including the installation of a Safe Medication Disposal Box at the Jefferson County Sheriff ’ s Office. Within 11 months, 660 pounds of pharmaceuticals were collected and incinerated.

In 2014, The Alliance for Better Communities was awarded a Drug Free Communities (DFC) Grant, a five-year federal grant which provides funding to assist local community-based coalitions in their efforts to prevent youth substance use. This funding will help the Alliance in furthering efforts to identify threats to our community by gathering local data and developing strategies and initiatives to address these issues. The Alliance, by continuing to build and strengthen partnerships with community members throughout all the sectors of our community, will diligently work to provide community education, raise public awareness, and create change that will help to support our youth in making healthier and safer decisions.