Members of Danville Our Voices Xposed (OVX), an anti-tobacco group, addressed the Danville select board with a proposal to make Joe’s Pond beach area a substance-free zone on Jan. 16, 2020. With little debate, the policy, which applies to everyone who visits the beach area, including public and private gatherings, was unanimously passed, marking a second win for Danville OVX.
OVX was established in 2001 with a $1.5 million-dollar grant from the American Legacy Foundation to the Vermont Department of Health’s Tobacco Control and Prevention Program. NVRH Prevention Services partners with the St. Johnsbury District Office of the Vermont Department of Health and other community partners to identify any gaps in services, which may result in a regional strategic plan comprised of evidence-based prevention strategies to reduce adolescent and young adult substance abuse, including tobacco use, vaping, and marijuana use and misuse.
“I am very proud of the students and how much they have grown,” said NVRH Prevention Specialist Tennyson Marceau. “Our OVX leaders are making a considerable environmental impact contributing to the health and wellness of our communities.”
This particular substance-free policy appealed to a large audience, as it provides everyone with a safe and healthy environment by recognizing that the use of tobacco, marijuana and alcohol products is detrimental to the health and safety of the community and the environment. For example, according to Truth Initiative, a nonprofit health organization committed to eradicating tobacco use, cigarettes make up nearly 38 percent of all collected litter, leading to an estimated 1.69 billion pounds of waste each year. These discarded cigarettes also contain chemicals such as arsenic and lead, which can contaminate water.
“It is wrecking the life of animals and many humans as well. We want our families to be able to have a fun, safe and healthy time when they go to Joe’s Pond,” OVX spokesperson Zoe Crocker said. “We are the next generation, and we want a clean, reliable environment for ourselves and our families,” OVX spokesperson Allie Beliveau added.