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Substance Misuse Prevention Services

NVRH Main Building

Northeast Prevention Coalition

The Northeast Prevention Coalition in Saint Johnsbury represents Northeast Kingdom communities in support of healthy choices. It is dedicated to preventing substance use, misuse and abuse for all ages using a variety of strategic interventions. Read our Community Report here or click here to visit the NPC webpage.

To read our latest letter to parents and community members, click here.

Promoting health, reducing risk

We are committed to the promotion of healthy lifestyles and norms. Our goals are to reduce underage drinking, high-risk alcohol consumption, marijuana and tobacco misuse, prescription drug and stimulant misuse, and illicit stimulants and opioids. To prevent substance misuse, we review data to identify existing conditions that either promote risk or protect from risk, assess a community’s readiness and capacity to address the conditions, and then identify strategies and programs.


Prevention Services

We are located at the lower level at 55 Sherman Drive, St. Johnsbury. Contact  Carolyn Towne, Director of Substance Misuse Prevention Services, at 802-748-7555.

Meet the Team

Carolyn Towne, Substance Misuse Prevention Director

Carolyn Towne is the Substance Misuse Prevention Director. She has more than 20 years of experience working in social services including community mental health, homeless and housing services, domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention, suicide prevention and SUD treatment and recovery. She earned her BA in Psychology from the University of NH at Manchester in 2000, graduating summa cum laude. Since then she has continued to hone her skills by attending various seminars and trainings to continue her education. Carolyn believes her integrative approach will continue to be instrumental in mobilizing the community towards this important goal.

Desiree Kepper, Prevention Specialist & Susanne Lesnik-Emas, Prevention Coalition Coordinator

Desiree Kepper (left) is the Substance Misuse Prevention Specialist and Susanne Lesnik-Emas is the Prevention Coalition Coordinator.

Desiree grew up in St. Johnsbury and graduated from Lyndon State College in 2016. She has experience working with youth and adults in a community mental health setting. She also has robust experience integrating vulnerable populations into the community. In her current role, she supports the work of the Northeast Prevention Coalition and facilitates its tobacco sub-committee.

Susanne has over 25 years of experience working for non-profits. She has also served as a full-time assistant professor at Temple University’s College of Public Health in Philadelphia for 10 years, where she taught collaboratively within the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. She has significant experience in program development, planning, facilitation and evaluation. She is a specialist in transitional and home-based services for individuals with disabilities and at-risk behaviors as well as an expert in areas of support that focus on communication skills, behaviors and self-determination. She currently leads the work of the Northeast Prevention Coalition as well as its monthly meetings.

Cheryl Chandler, Prevention Coordinator

Cheryl Chandler is the Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator and has over 14 years of experience in the field of prevention.  She is experienced in utilizing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA), Strategic Prevention Framework to address underage and binge drinking, marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse, as well as problem and disordered gambling.  Her strengths include coalition development and community capacity building.  She believes that community coalitions can be one of a community’s greatest assets when addressing substance use, misuse and abuse.  Cheryl has served as the Director of a Youth Service Bureau in Connecticut managing several federal, state and local grants as well as the Assistant Director of the Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling.  She permanently moved to Vermont in August of 2016. She is especially impressed with Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital’s commitment to prevention in Caledonia and Southern Essex Counties, Wells River and the collaborative spirit of community members.   Cheryl has two adult children and resides in West Danville with her husband Keith.