You have heard the expression “It takes a village.” Well, to keep our children from experimenting with drugs and alcohol effectively, it’s going to take a community… a community of tightly knit parents, teachers, law enforcement workers and advocates to “Be the Wall” against drugs and alcohol.
Did you know?
- According to DEA-ARCOS reports, Pinellas County doctors dispensed 308,400 units of oxycodone in 2008.
- Florida physicians dispense five times more oxycodone than the national average of dispensing
- Some 51% of teens reported they take prescription drugs because they are not illegal and 35% say because they are safer then illegal drugs.
- A reported 15.9% of Pinellas county youth feel their parents believe that regular use of alcohol is not wrong or not very wrong for people their age.
- The tobacco industry spends $969 million each year to market their products in Florida (more than in any other state in the nation).
- Each day, 72 Florida youths become regular smokers.
- According to a 2008 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey of 849 middle and high school students, nearly 55% said they have used alcohol on at least one occasion in their lives. Another 25%indicated they tried marijuana.
There are certain factors that contribute to teen drug use:
- Lack of enforcement
- Social access/ availability
- Retail access/ availability
- Social norms about the acceptance of drugs, tobacco and alcohol
As substance abuse and drug prevention organization, our goal is to keep the children in our communities safe and drug free. These goals include increasing community awareness about the effects of drug use and providing resources to parents and communities. These resources include needs assessments, community action planning, and workgroups.
We’ve found that the most effective way to prevent youth substance use is to take a comprehensive approach by utilizing all facets of a community:
- Law enforcement
- Civic associations
- Government organizations
- Local youth organizations
- Local nonprofit organizations
- Local businesses
Advocacy and education are both keys to success, and the more community leaders and members are involved in the learning and educating process, the better.
The state of Florida has a few government-funded community programs designed to take a proactive approach to keeping kids off of drugs, and there are also a number of great nonprofit organizations, such as Livefree! What follows is a highlight of some of the many organizations that community members can partner with to make a change in their communities.
Keep Kids Drug Free Foundation, Inc. (KKDF) is a Florida nonprofit organization designed to be used as a resource for parents, families and young people. It provides information on how to start a drug-free campaign, hold events in your community, and promote community awareness.
Drug Free Communities (DFC) is a national organization set up to provide further support to community drug-free coalitions. It believes that “Local problems need local solutions.”
The group’s main purpose is to strengthen local prevention efforts, encourage citizen participation, and disseminate information about effective programs.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) works in cooperation with Drug Free Communities as a support for local drug-free campaigns and coalitions by providing funding to help prevent youth substance use.
Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education (NOPE) Task Force is a program designed to educate students and parents about the consequences of substance abuse. Its programs reach kids in middle school, high school, and college, and are presented by community leaders. The group also reaches parents with presentations by counselors and community leaders, explaining the signs of drug usage and the best ways to speak with kids about drugs.
Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) is a statewide program that focuses on changing social norms about tobacco use. This program was designed to be used with other campaigns throughout the state and promote policy for tobacco prevention and control.
These are just a few of the many great programs out there designed to advocate, educate and bring communities together to “Be the Wall” against youth substance use. If you are currently looking for a program to be a part of, or would like to start your own community campaign, please visit our website by clicking here.