Education for Cities and Towns on Substance Abuse Prevention

Healthy Lamoille Valley, working with the Vermont Department of Health, is a resource for you when you are considering actions and recommendations that will make our communities healthier. We help towns create changes to policies and systems that encourage healthy behavior. It may involve municipal planning, regulatory activities (ordinance, rule, zoning or policy), or non-regulatory activity (community garden, farmers market, bike path, festival). Healthy behavior may include reduced use of tobacco products; reduced high risk drinking (including underage alcohol use and binge drinking); and reduced use of other drugs, including marijuana and opiates. It may also include physical activity and nutrition.

Why substance use policies make sense:

  • Individual health impact
  • Environmental impact
  • Public health impact of reinforcing substance use as a norm
  • Education issue

Here are some general strategies your town might consider:

  • Regulatory Activities (See, A Primer On Planning for Prevention link below)
  • Restrict alcohol and tobacco use at public events and in public places.
  • Adopt an ordinance or establish all municipal parks as substance free.
  • Restrict the number and placement of alcohol outlets within the community.
  • Revise zoning bylaws to require XX distance between liquor outlets or establishments and community facilities, such as schools, day cares, public buildings, and parks.
  • Revise zoning bylaws and work with retailers to decrease alcohol promotions, such as signage.
  • Create incentives for alcohol free, family friendly community events.

Here are the links to three excellent resources: 

A Primer On Planning for Prevention

Created in partnership with Healthy Lamoille Valley with our region in mind. 

Vermont Healthy Community Design Resources Examples for Creating Healthy Communities Physical Activity, Healthy Eating, Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (Vermont Department of Health)

This resource has many Vermont and national policy examples, including direct links and specific language.

Smoke Free Parks: A comprehensive review of the policy considerations underlying state and municipal smoke-free parks laws (Tobacco White Paper Series, Respiratory Health Association)


Contact us for further assistance on town policy, town plan development, process and free signage.

Alison Link, Policy and Community Outreach Coordinator, 917-626-0344 or

Jessica Bickford, Coordinator, Healthy Lamoille Valley, Coordinator,