Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition (SUPC)

Youth Substance Use Prevention Coalition (formerly Preventing Alcohol Abuse in Chicago Teens (PAACT)) is a multi-agency coalition of community-based organizations, government agencies and stakeholders from across the city. Convened by Lurie Children’s, SUPC works to prevent youth substance use in Chicago. SUPC also convenes a Youth Advisory Board in collaboration with Voices of Chicago Youth in Education (VOYCE) to ensure that the work of the coalition remains centered on the needs and experiences of young people in Chicago. SUPC has implemented city-wide tactics including a communications and community engagement campaign that is targeted to youth and parents/caregivers (I Got This) with the goals of increasing awareness of the potential harmful effects and consequences of alcohol consumption for underage drinkers and providing support in decreasing young people's perception of permissive family norms with regard to underage alcohol use.


  • Increase impact/engagement of coalition meetings (training, collaboration, increased sector engagement, expand to members who aren’t focused on alcohol specifically)
  • Increase connection/collaboration across membership to ensure that we are supporting a city-wide effort in youth substance use prevention
  • Center youth voices/experiences in the work of SUPC + SUPC members by engagement with YAB

Key Strategies

With the goal of reducing youth substance use and promoting health and wellness in the city of Chicago, SUPC’s approach includes:

  1. Building capacity among SUPC members and community partners
  2. School policy engagement
  3. Youth Advisory Board to ensure that the work of SUPC remains youth-centered and responsive to the needs of Chicago’s young people
  4. Support city-wide collaboration to prevent youth substance use in Chicago

Getting Involved with SUPC

There are many ways and opportunities to get involved with SUPC. For more information, email

Project Team Members

  • Jennifer Leininger, M. Ed., Associate Director of Community Programs & Initiatives
  • Leslie Helmcamp, MPAff, Associate Director, Policy
  • Kate Spitzer-Cohn, Program Coordinator
  • Linda Gordon, BHS, Community Coordinator
  • David Arzola, Operations Manager
  • Dion McGill, Communications and Community Outreach Manager

REPORT: Open Bottles Broken Policies

In 2018 Preventing Alcohol Abuse in Chicago Teens (PAACT) commissioned Voices of Youth In Chicago Education (VOYCE) to research ways to improve school discipline policies related to alcohol use. In the summer of 2018, VOYCE engaged in a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project where youth researchers critically examined the cause of underage drinking and developed recommendations to improve school discipline policies. Please see their recently released report, Open Bottles Broken Policies, which highlights their findings and proposed solutions for addressing underage drinking in Chicago. This report helped guide the school policy work that was initially spearheaded by PAACT, and later by SUPC in conjunction with VOYCE and Chicago Public Schools.