The Dorchester Substance Abuse Coalition

Dorchester Substance Abuse Coalition

Mobilizing the community to reduce and prevent youth substance use and abuse the Dorchester Substance Abuse Coalition (DSAC) is a grassroots organization dedicated to reducing, preventing, and eliminating substance use and abuse among youth in our community. Members of the community come together to address the risk factors leading to substance use and abuse, and educate parents and loved ones about prevention and treatment. Our members include youth, parents, community and youth organizations, the Mayor’s office, the police department, the Boston Public Health Commission and local schools.

For more information, call the DSAC Hotline:  617-533-2234 or email:

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Shoulder Tap

The shoulder tap surveys measure the willingness of a complete stranger to purchase alcohol for a minor. Youth will stand outside of a liquor store and ask adults a hypothetical, standard question about their willingness to buy them alcohol. Depending on how they answer the students will give the adult a card containing information about this shoulder tap survey and why they should not provide alcohol to minors. This project is done as a survey so no laws are broken and it is always supervised by a Boston City Police Officer to ensure the safety of everyone involved.


Sticker Shock

The Sticker Shock campaign aims to reach individuals over the age of 21 that legally purchase alcohol and illegally provide it to minors. The campaign consists of stickers being adhered to multi-packs of alcoholic beverages. These stickers explain why adults should not provide alcohol to minors. Groups of youth, accompanied by adult chaperones, work with local liquor store owners and managers to place as many stickers as possible.


Park Audits

Many youth in Dorchester report that parks are a major venue for underage drinking.    To prevent this, we audit parks in order to change certain characteristics about the parks in order to make them less conducive to drinking and more likely to be used for their true intent. Youth will accompany a staff member to the park.  They will look for things like litter, lighting, and signage as a means of assessing whether the park is more conducive to hosting underage drinking.  The youth will then write a letter to the Parks Department, providing suggestions for improvement and to show that the community, specifically youth in this community, care about the use of these parks.