Needham is a cohesive community that supports all of our youth to grow, and develop to be substance free and healthy in mind, body, and spirit.


The coalition incorporates a collaborative, community-based, and data-driven prevention approach to reduce alcohol, marijuana and other drug use among Needham youth. Through community education, partnership, and strategic action, we decrease the risk factors and increase the protective factors associated with substance use to enhance the health and safety of our youth.

Who We Are

The Substance Prevention Alliance of Needham (SPAN) is comprised of leaders and stakeholders from key sectors of a community including:

  • Business leaders
  • Community representatives
  • Faith-based organizations
  • Health care professionals
  • Law enforcement
  • Media
  • Parents
  • School and public service officials
  • Social service providers
  • State and local government agencies
  • Youth
  • Youth-serving representatives


Our coalitions Steering committee meets quarterly via zoom. The Parent, Community, and Youth Action teams meet monthly, sharing an open and honest dialogue on the high-risk behaviors and substance use and abuse issues confronting Needham youth. Meetings are regularly attended by 15 to 20 Needham community leaders, parents, and youth.

SPAN members discuss the biological, psychological, and legal consequences of underage substance use and how their prevention work can positively impact Needham youth and adults. Research shows that multi-sector, multi-strategy approaches to substance abuse prevention, implemented by community coalitions, reduce alcohol and other drug use significantly. Our members are committed to implementing Environmental Prevention Strategies that impact access and availability, policy and enforcement, media advocacy and community norms.


The SPAN has 4 strategic goals:

  • To build coalition capacity.
  • To prevent and reduce youth access to alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs.
  • To change attitudes and social norms towards youth alcohol and substance abuse.
  • To increase protective factors that prevent youth alcohol and substance abuse in Needham.



For more information contact Program Director Karen Shannon at:

  • 178 Rosemary Street
  • Needham, MA 02492
  • Phone: 781-455-7500 ext. 215
  • Hours
    Monday through Friday
    8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SPAN Events

The coalition routinely hosts events to foster the educational and collaborative nature of its mission. Please check our events listing to learn about our past and future events.