We Are The Solution
LiveFree! established itself as a Pinellas County leader in effective prevention planning strategies for community coalitions by addressing underage drinking and teen drug use. The organization’s strategies are based on the Strategic Prevention Framework steps published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These strategies are evidence-based with documented research demonstrating that prevention efforts are most effective when they are maintained over time. Data has also shown that community coalitions are the key to the success of Florida’s overall decline in teen drug use.
LiveFree!’s community coalition activities include the engagement of youth, parents, law enforcement, experts, and businesses in coalition activities. We promote personal and community advocacy, and public awareness of substance abuse in Pinellas County. These activities build support for parents and teens who are committed to living free of substance abuse. LiveFree! utilizes many creative engagement activities to mobilize youth, families and the community including:
· Be the Wall- A social marketing campaign that encourages parents in the community to “Be the Wall” between youth and underage drinking.
· Responsible Beverage Server Training, Compliance Checks and Last Drink Survey- These are environmental strategies that teach Pinellas Park Police effective methods to work with area vendors in reviewing their alcohol service policy and employee training practices. Members of the Pinellas Park Police Department implement the Last Drink Surveys, surveying DUI offenders on where they were served their last drink of alcohol prior to arrest. Data provides communities with valuable research to let law enforcement and other key members of the community know which establishments have the greatest need for responsible vendor education. These resources help to reduce the number of DUI offenders and increase the community’s knowledge of how youth are gaining access to alcohol. These factors combined with the connection between alcohol and youth-related crimes will help us achieve results.
· Operation Medicine Cabinet™- This program provides a solution to medicine cabinets being the number one source for prescription drugs to our youth. This pharmaceutical take-back program gives residents a chance to bring unused or expired prescriptions, controlled substances and over-the-counter medications to locations in their community for safe disposal.
· FACE IT- An evidence-based prevention program presented in Pinellas County middle and high schools as an alternative to expulsion for youth caught using/possessing drugs on school grounds. FACE IT requires youth and parent participation to fulfill the mandated completion requirement.
Established in 2003, LiveFree! has realized numerous program successes over its seven-year history.
- We have a coalition membership in excess of more than 340 members
- We provide more than 3,300 community prevention hours annually
- We also have five active workgroups to engage coalition members.
During 2009 alone, more than 16,200 adults and 2,600 youth were reached through health fairs and community events with the important message of creating a safe, healthy and substance abuse–free community.
Key community partners engaged in the coalition have helped to build successful community strategies that address: teen alcohol use, binge drinking, prescription drug misuse and other teen drug use. We include the full implementation of creative social marketing campaigns likeFlorida’s Be the Wall campaign.
Annual hallmark prevention forums include:
· A televised WEDU Town Hall Meeting on PBS
· Two Operation Medicine Cabinet take back operations
· The NOPE Candlelight Vigil
· Advocacy training
· Middle school, high school and college LiveFree! Youth Clubs
LiveFree! kicks off the Early Youth Initiative in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention and the Florida Office of Drug Control in August 2010. Together they enforce underage drinking laws.
LiveFree! remains on the cutting edge of innovation, research, and strategic community-focused approaches. We want to create a safe, healthy and substance abuse–free community. No other local organization has the partnerships and community trust to undertake this scope of work.
LiveFree!’s leadership consists of a volunteer Key Leaders Council representing a broad spectrum of community experts. The council includes: law enforcement, Pinellas County Public Schools, institutions of higher learning, faith based organizations, parents, youth, providers of healthcare services and others who are dedicated to realizing our mission. Each genuinely recognizes and fully supports the important role that LiveFree! plays in serving as a leader to create public and private collaborations. We link youth, young adults, families and neighborhoods to public awareness, advocacy, education and healthy solutions to create a safe, healthy and substance abuse–free community.
Members of the Council and Coalition Workgroups represent award winning prevention leaders in Pinellas County including: Chief Dorene Thomas, Dr. Jan Urbanski and Larry Jopek. All of these members received the first round of LiveFree! Excellence Awards. Council Member and Administrator of Prevention Services for Operation PAR, Daphne Miller, was recently honored by the Florida Certification Board as the ‘2010 Professional of the Year’.