Phone: (941) 922-SAFE
Fax (941) 922-7699
SCoSA Promotes Substance Abuse Free Environments (SAFE)

Our History

SCoSA emerged during early 1999 as series of round table discussions at the former The Venice Foundation (now Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice), to find ways to provide sustained and effective substance abuse prevention and intervention programs. The death of several teenagers in alcohol related crashes the previous year created the spark that mobilized the community. In September 1999, the Venice group resolved to develop into a community force as a strong coalition, facilitated by the Human Services Planning Association of Sarasota County and startup funding from The Venice Foundation.

Several hundred community leaders and ordinary citizens searched for an answer to the question, “What is effective substance abuse prevention and how does a community bring it about?” National leaders led seminars which pointed to the need for a sustainable Coalition that would carry out year-round prevention promotion. This Coalition should follow a strategic plan addressing key local risk factors, filling gaps in protective factors, and targeting youth as well as adults. For this purpose, the organization employed the Communities That Care® operating system of planning and program development. In November 2000, the new Coalition issued Better Futures 2000 Plus, a data-based report that identified ten top substance abuse related priorities for action over the next three years. At that point, the Coalition emerged as a self-governing organization with its own by-laws.

The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Sarasota County was incorporated in March 2001 and received its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in June 2001. Later that year, in October, the Coalition received first federal Drug Free Communities grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention with a renewal option of up to five years. During the winter of 2001, the organization formed committees to work on action plans to implement the identified priorities. These committees set in motion a number of community changes, projects, and collaborations. In March 2002, the organization changed its name to the current Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse, Inc.

With a combination of local, state, and federal funds, the Coalition had a budget of over $250,000 in its first year (2001-2002), $350,000 in its second year (2002-2003), and $275, 0000 in its third year (2003-2004). In addition to grants and contracts, the organization received in-kind contributions from an array of agencies and individuals.

© 2001-2004 Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse, INC. All rights reserved