A few years ago, Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County was struggling to find funding for our efforts, and to maximize our reach in the community. Over this last year, we have grown as a coalition and have increased our work around the prevention of substance use by youth in Grant County. As a coalition, we chose to focus on alcohol and marijuana for the Drug-Free Communities funding, but we also work towards the prevention of youth tobacco, prescription drug, and other drug use.
We have created several new partnerships within the community, and strengthened already existing ones. Our partnership with the Grant County Sheriff’s Office led to the implementation of Tobacco Retailer Compliance Checks, in which 22 local tobacco outlets were visited by an underage youth and law enforcement officer to ensure their compliance with state tobacco laws around selling tobacco products to minors. All 22 outlets that were visited passed the compliance checks, which means the clerks did not allow the underage youth to purchase any tobacco products. Retail compliance is incredibly important in the prevention of underage tobacco use.
In May, the coalition partnered with 8 alcohol retailers to implement Project Sticker Shock in which we placed over 1,500 stickers on multipacks of alcohol warning parents and other adults of the penalties associated with providing alcohol to minors. This partnership with our alcohol retailers will be vital in the reduction of retail access to alcohol by youth. Our coalition values the commitment of the local alcohol retailers to our community and our youth by following state alcohol laws and asking for identification from those under 21 for alcohol purchases.
Champions for a Drug-Free Grant County has been working closely with the Grant County Drug Task Force to reach out to the churches and faith leaders in Grant County. Together, we hosted the first Faith to Stand conference in April, where over 100 church members and faith leaders came together to learn about different substance use prevention techniques and current drug trends that are impacting our youth and adults.
Throughout this school year, we will be partnering with both school districts to implement Sources of Strength – an evidence-based substance use and suicide prevention program. This program will develop peer leaders and recruit adult advisors to work within the middle and high schools to implement various projects. We will continue to share on this great project throughout the year!
As we begin year 2, we have a lot to be excited about and a lot of work to do! We hope that our partnerships within the community continue to grow, and that we have an impact on the youth in Grant County.
Our coalition meets the first Monday of every month at the Grant County Cooperative Extension Office beginning at 10am. Please join us for a meeting, and see what our coalition and work is all about!