Policy council vows to reduce pot, pill use

Published 1:08 am Friday, October 28, 2016


The Covington County Children’s Policy Council Coalition has set goals for year eight of its Drug Free Communities grant in order to reduce overall youth drug usage rates, especially pot and pills.

“Each year, the CCCPCC looks at the annual data and then compares the core measurement areas by school system to the data collected in the previous year. This year we compared school year 2015-2016 to school year 2014-2015 to measure the effectiveness of programming as we make changes or additions to the action plan,” Susan Short, director of the CCCPCC said.

Short said that the PRIDE survey results showed for all school systems combined that 30-day use in all substance abuse categories saw improvement.

Marijuana use decreased by 2.5 percent, and prescription drug use reduced by 1 percent.

Short said that the core measure of perception of risk improved in the marijuana category by 2.8 percent

The measure of parental disapproval slightly declined and friends’ disapproval improved.

“During FY8, the CCCPCC anticipates additional improvement with youth usage rates and would like to have improvement in the parental disapproval area as well,” she said. “The CCCPCC attributes many of these improvements to anti-drug messaging by the peer helper programs in our schools and school teachers as youth are being educated about the dangers of drug use on a regular basis.”

In the next year, the coalition is striving to increase community collaboration.

Short said that they plan to recruit and increase member selection by 7 percent by next September.

They want to recruit new members and volunteers as well as engage membership in the coalition’s ongoing work and maintain communication.

Additionally, the coalition hopes to increase Peer Helper participation by 2 percent by next September, and expand the Peer Helper programs into the county’s middle schools.

Another means of improving the coalition is increasing training opportunities by 2 percent for existing staff and emerging coalition leaders for sustainability of the coalition.

The coalition also needs to increase fiscal resources by 5 percent by Sept. 29, 2017, for the match for the DFC support program for sustainability.

Short said they plan to apply for local foundation grants, solicit local corporations for grant funding, and continue to seek additional state and federal grant funding.

Goal two is to reduce youth substance use targeting marijuana and prescription pill abuse.

Short said they want to reduce marijuana use among youth by 2 percent in terms of 30-day use numbers by the next Pride Survey. Other ways they plan to right youth substance abuse includes educating the community on facts surrounding marijuana; provide support for alternative activities for youth; and enhance access to treatment by better enabling local resources to locate treatment availability.

On the prescription pill side, Short said they hope to reduce youth prescription pill abuse by 1.5 percent in the past 30-day use category on the Pride survey. The goal is to educate the community on the dangers of misuse of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Short said they also want to enhance skills of middle schoolers and high schoolers by equipping them with prescription pill abuse facts and refusal skills.