The Healthy Communities Office represents the urban catchment area of the city of Providence in Rhode Island. The Providence Partnerships for Success grant will focus on citywide underage alcohol and tobacco/nicotine use with an anticipated reach of at least 13,243 individuals ages 12-17 with a focus on youth in out-of-schooltime settings.
With over 178,000 residents, Providence is the capital of Rhode Island and the second largest city in New England. Providence is the home to a large concentration of RI’s communities of color. Nearly 21% of Providence residents are non-native English speaking, compared to only 8% statewide. The proportion of foreign-born people in Providence (29%) is more than twice that of the whole state (13.6%). Approximately 26% of the City’s total population is living below the federal poverty level. Providence has the largest youth population in RI with 13,050 public school youth in grades 6-12. Ninety-one percent of the total public-school population is children of color and 86% qualify for free/reduced lunch.
Alcohol is the most prevalent substance used by youth and young adults in RI. In 2017, half of RI high school students reported that they have ever drank alcohol. According to the National Study on Drug Use and Health, RI has a higher percentage of youth and young adults who use alcohol and binge use alcohol, and a lower youth perception of great risk, compared to the Northeast region and national averages. Over the past few decades, RI has seen significant decline in underage cigarette use. However, the proliferation of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), is of concern in RI. Recent RI Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data show a ten-percentage point increase in current high school ENDS youth from 2017 to 2019.
The goal of the Providence Partnerships for Success project is to utilize the Strategic Prevention Framework to implement a comprehensive approach to continue progress in reducing alcohol, tobacco, and ENDS use for youth, ages 12-17. To meet this goal, the Healthy Communities Office proposes implementing a comprehensive set of evidence-based strategies including: education and communication strategies such as delivering evidence-based programs in out-of-schooltime and family settings; environmental strategies addressing social and retail access; and enhanced enforcement of underage alcohol and tobacco laws. Providence expects to see a 5-percentage point decrease in alcohol and tobacco/nicotine use each, for youth ages 12-17. The evidence-based strategies will create measurable city-level changes in social access, retail access, family and community norms, and perception of risk and harm.