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Community Prevention Partners (CPP) is a coalition of individuals and organizations who mobilize for policies and environmental changes to improve community health and safety in Santa Cruz County.  We focus on reducing substance use disorders and related consequences.  

CPP works with school districts, parents, youth serving organizations, health care workers, law enforcement agencies, cannabis industry, alcohol merchants, and community members to reduce youth access and availability to alcohol, cannabis, and prescription drugs.  

Substance use disorder is a chronic, treatable, disease! Access to treatment is extremely important, but we believe that without prevention we will never truly be successful. We have a vision of a thriving, healthy community. Since 2010, CPP has been increasing prevention and early intervention measures as highly effective tools for community health and youth success.  

Community Prevention Partners is a proud Drug Free Communities Grant Coalition.  

MISSION: Santa Cruz Community Prevention Partners are dedicated to building a diverse community that promotes health and well being, and enhances youth and community safety through sustainable alcohol and drug prevention efforts. 


Community Prevention Partners:

  • Educates and Provides Information: raising community awareness about substance use trends and prevention strategies that community members can use at home or support in the community.

  • Builds Skills: provide training to coalition members; support for development of family substance use policies; Narcan (opioid overdose reversal) training; how community members can safely dispose and store medications, cannabis, and alcohol.

  • Provides Support: referrals to pro-social youth activities and family resources through updating and promoting 211, and partnering with youth serving agencies, including youth leadership development through Friday Night Live.

  • Enhances Access and Reduces Barriers that lead to substance use. For instance working on school policies to increase referrals to 7 Challenges to address the root cause of substance use, rather than suspensions.

  • Changes Consequences: tie best practices to licensing and have regular monitoring and compliance checks.

  • Physical Design: reducing the saturation of alcohol outlets, surveying and altering store design to reduce underage access.

  • Provide research on best practices and community mobilization for long-term policy changes to address the root issues and local conditions of youth substance misuse.

To learn more about our evidence-based strategies, please check out: *CADCA’s 7 Strategies for Change

Community involvement is the cornerstone of the Community Prevention Partners (CPP).  We invite you to join us in taking action, by:

  • Interviewing and surveying youth and community members and looking at community data;

  • Raising awareness about our local challenges, public health best practices, and solutions;

  • Developing campaigns to address our specific local conditions;

  • Implementing sustainable evidenced based strategies that promote community safety;

  • Evaluating progress and monitoring change.

The best way to get involved is by joining one of our initiatives focused on Alcohol Prevention, Cannabis Prevention, or Prescription Drugs and Stigma.  


Community Members like you, with support from staff from diverse organizations in Santa Cruz County, have joined us to develop action plans for reducing and preventing underage drinking, youth cannabis use, and prescription drug misuse and abuse



The Alcohol Initiative, formally, Project CURB (Communities United to Reduce Bingeing) focuses on limiting youth access to alcohol from homes and stores through strategies such as: 

  • Increasing storage and monitoring of alcohol in the home.

  • Increasing merchant education about alcohol laws and youth prevention practicing.

  • Decreasing saturation of alcohol outlets through city and county policy

  • Use of the Social Host Ordinance

Find Out More →



Limit youth access to cannabis, by: 

  • Limiting youth access to cannabis through smart policy development and regulation.

  • Decreasing recreational use in public places and at schools

  • Enhancing community awareness about local laws and cannabis impact on health.

Find Out More →



Address misuse and abuse due to ease of access. Medical professionals and community members will work together to create strategies to: 

  • Decrease access to prescription drugs through proper storage and disposal

  • Promote convenient disposal locations

  • Increase medical professionals use of statewide prescription tracking system

  • Encourage patients to talk to their doctors

  • Address substance use disorder stigma and increase access to treatment through the "Talk About It" Campaign www.talkaboutitscc.org

Find Out More →


Brenda Armstrong - County of Santa Cruz, SUDS Prevention Manager

Christina Borbely (CPP Co-Chair 2019-2021) -RET Partners, Lead Partner,

Amber Parker – UCSC SHOP, Alcohol and Other Drug Educator

Erica Padilla Chavez – PVPSA, Executive Director

Gina Cole- Bike Santa Cruz County, Executive Director

Rita Hewitt- Health Improvement Partnership

Deb Elston – SC Neighbors, Inc., Founder

Sarah Emmert-United Way of Santa Cruz County, Director of Community Impact

Patrica Mata- Pajaro Valley Prevention and Student Assistance

Denise Elerick- Santa Cruz County Harm Reduction Coalition

Juliana Rodriguez- Friday Night Live Youth

Kelly Jacobs- Senator Monning’s Office

Laura Wishart- Assembly-member Mark Stone’s Office

Katharina Schoellhamer- MAT Director, Janus

Sarah Tisdale- Encompass Community Services

Shebreh Kalantari Johnson - Community Member, Consultant, Parent

Dena Loijos - Public Health Consultant

Mary Mason- County of Santa Cruz, SUDS Prevention Program Coordinator

Christopher Carr (CPP Co-Chair 2019-2021) - Cannabis Connection, Santa Cruz Center of Botanical Studies

Jen O’Brien Rojo - California Institute for Invincible Youth, (Past CPP Chair 2016-2018)

Gail Pellerin – Community Member, Parent

Jenna Shankman- United Way of Santa Cruz County, Community Impact Coordinator

Robert Doty- Probation

Martine Watkins- County Office of Education, Senior Community Organizer

Francisco Estrada- Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust

Gustavo Indarose- Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust

Julieta Treado- California Highway Patrol

Suzette Reuschel-DiVirgilio, RN, DNP- California Health Alliance

Tim Goncharoff- County Public Works

Pam Newbury- Community Advocate and writer