About Us

Bristol Eliminating Substance Use Together (BEST)

Teaming Up for a Drug Free Community

Bristol Eliminating Substance Use Together (BEST) is a Drug-Free Community Coalition that began in the early 1990s as the Bristol Youth Prevention Council. In the twenty-five years since, the Coalition’s name may have changed, but its focus on reducing youth substance misuse has remained constant.

Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission is to work toward unifying the community to promote wellness through increasing education, implementing strategies and enforcing policy to prevent substance misuse by youth and those who impact their development.

Our Vision is to develop a culture of awareness and sustained action that will promote positive youth development and a healthier community.

Our Purpose

1. To engage and collaborate with the community
2. To prevent as many Bristol youth as possible from turning to drugs and alcohol

How We Accomplish Our Mission

BEST plans to use a comprehensive approach to achieve its goals. In order to make an impactful and lasting difference, the entire community–parents, teachers, youth, police, health care providers, faith communities, business and civic leaders and others–have to be involved and working together. Once this is accomplished, specific prevention initiatives and programs can then be planned.

If you would like a more detailed look into the types of strategies that coalitions like BEST use to promote drug-free communities, check out these links.

Our People: Coalition's 12 Sector Leaders

  • Business Sector

    Cindy Bombard

    President & CEO of the Central CT Chambers of Commerce

    Visit Website
  • Government Sector

    Marco Palmeri, M.P.H., R.S. 

    Director of Health Bristol-Burlington Health District & designee Catherine Plourde, BSN, RN

    Visit Website
  • Youth Chair & Youth Sector Representative

    CJay Gibbs

    Bristol Eastern High School Student

  • School Sector

    Sara Hale

    Teaching Dean of Physical Education and Health

  • Religious Sector

    Pastor Todd Williams

    Bridge Community Church

    Visit Website
  • Civic/Volunteer Organization Sector

    Chad Layton

    Elks Club

    Visit Website
  • Healthcare Professional Sector

    Jennifer Fritzen

    Prevention Specialist of Wheeler Clinic

    Visit Website
  • Parent Sector


  • Youth Serving Sector

    Michael Suchopar

    President & CEO of BBGC, and designee D’Andre Esposito, West Street Unit Director at BBCG

    Visit Website
  • Other Organization Involved with Reducing Substance Use Sector

    Samantha Rajotte

    Scholarship & Program Officer, Main Street Community Foundation

    Visit Website
  • Law Enforcement Sector

    Acting Chief Brian Gould 

    Bristol Police Department or designee, Lt. Mark Morello

    Visit Website
  • Media Sector

    Erica Benoit

    Community Engagement Coordinator for Bristol Parks, Recreation, Youth, and Community Services

  • Co-Chair

    Meet BEST Co-Chair, Samantha Rajotte. Samantha is the Scholarship & Program Officer at Main Street Community Foundation, which enhances the quality of life for both present and future generations in the communities of Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. Samantha assists with Foundation grant-making, specifically the Foundation’s scholarship program, as well as communications efforts. She joined BEST as a Sector Representative in 2017 and was nominated to Co-Chair in 2019. Sam has contributed her time on the Coalition’s Media Sub Committee and Event Planning Sub Committee. This year, Sam formed the By Laws Committee, ensuring the Coalition has a set of guiding set of principals and values. Sam’s passion for youth substance use prevention is contagious.  Her role on the Coalition is vital as she leads the community in the uphill battle of prevention. She is a respected contributor to the City of Bristol Drug Free Communities Coalition, BEST.