In early November, members of the Marysville Together Coalition and interested guests took part in a Data Carousel at the Marysville Public Library as the first step in a community initiative focused on preventing substance abuse in youth.
Working in groups and moving table-to-table to discuss needs, participants identified priorities for several key subjects, ranging from parental involvement to young peoples attitudes toward drugs and alcohol.
The data gathering was part of the Prevention Redesign Initiative (PRI), funded by a block grant from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR).
The Marysville community and Marysville Middle School were selected to participate in the project to focus on keeping youth, young adults and others free of alcohol and other drug misuse, while creating a healthier community. The project will support training, technical assistance, and community and school-based prevention programs.
Marysville is one of 19 communities statewide funded by DBHR to develop new coalitions or support existing ones. DBHR is supporting the Initiative in order to focus community and school-based prevention resources in targeted communities across the state, increasing opportunities to see community-wide changes to drug prevalence rates and associated consequences.
A number of factors were considered in selecting Marysville and the Marysville School District for services, said Mary Wysocki, Snohomish County Human Services Prevention Coordinator. These included a variety of data related to substance abuse, along with Marysville School Districts readiness to benefit from these services.
The Marysville Together Coalitionformerly Marysville Community Coalition--will begin services no later than July 1, 2013. Marysville Together is represented by parents, grandparents, youth, healthcare professionals, educators, law enforcement, faith leaders, civic and volunteer groups, government, substance abuse prevention and treatment organizations, business, media, schools and youth-serving organizations. Community members are invited to be involved with planning and implementing programs.
To achieve the primary goal of reducing underage drinking and the related negative consequences such as juvenile crime, community members will identify the highest prevention needs, plan and implement evidence-based strategies, leverage local resources and evaluate the impact of selected programs.
Our goal in redesigning and targeting our state prevention services is to leverage enough resources in high-need communities to achieve greater reductions in substance abuse and the harm it causes, said Chris Imhoff, DBHRs director. Community leaders are prepared to use these resources to help more young people succeed, and to improve the health and safety of their community.
PRI communities will focus on reducing underage drinking among 8th and 10th graders, improving academic performance, and reducing juvenile crime. DBHR will expand PRI in the next three years to target approximately 50 high-need communities in Washington State.
State and county data from the 2010 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey is available at www.AskHYS.net. Information and tips for parents for preventing underage drinking can be found at www.StartTalkingNow.org.
To find out how to get involved with the Marysville Together Coalition, contact Mary Wysocki at 425-388-7422 or by email at Mary.Wysocki@snoco.org.