GOT OUTCOMES! Coalition of Excellence Award Winners 2008
Coalition of the Year Award
The North Coastal Prevention Coalition (NCPC), which serves the cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Vista in North San Diego County, Calif., was selected as the Coalition of the Year for their comprehensive efforts to curb marijuana and alcohol use among youth. After discovering that more students used marijuana than cigarettes and that alcohol was the number one substance abused by teens, the coalition engaged in a comprehensive set of strategies including: advocating for passage and enforcement of social host ordinances, increasing public awareness of the consequences of underage drinking parties, and reducing availability of alcohol to minors. They also countered pro-marijuana marketing; reduced the sale of pro-drug merchandise and the availability of drug paraphernalia; and increased smoke-free outdoor venues to prevent marijuana use at festivals and concerts. The coalition were active in their engagement of media outlets and elected officials, critical factors in their success at implementing a social host ordinance. As a result, alcohol sale violations in the region fell by half, the perception of harm of marijuana use increased; alcohol use among 11th graders decreased from 52 percent in 1999 to 44 percent in 2007; and marijuana use among 11th graders dropped from 31 percent in 1999 to 17 percent in 2007.
Coalition in Focus Award
The Gage County MAPS Coalition in Beatrice, NE serves a predominately rural county. The coalition examined a variety of data sources to thoroughly assess its community needs, including student survey data, alcohol-related fatal crashes, law enforcement reports on calls for service, arrest records related to alcohol, and Juvenile Diversion data. The coalition also used focus group data to complement their quantitative data. The 2003 data clearly pointed to underage drinking as the most critical problem needing action: 46 percent of 10th graders reported 30-day alcohol use and 45 percent of 12th graders reported binge drinking. They were also able to pinpoint specific risk factors and local conditions that contributed to the problem locally such as retail and parental access, favorable community norms and favorable parental attitudes. The coalition engaged in a comprehensive planning process and implemented the following strategies: building youth leadership opportunities, strengthening networks for youth- and family-service agencies, responsible beverage server training, and increasing enforcement around retail and social access to alcohol to create county-wide changes in both youth and adult perceptions and behaviors. The coalition has three years of trend data to indicate that substance abuse and risk factors are on the decline: 10th graders who indicate that alcohol use is risky have increased from 53.3 percent in 2003 to 63.5 percent in 2007. 10th grade 30-day use of alcohol has decreased steadily, dropping from 46.4 percent in 2003 to 28.8 percent in 2007.
Coalition In Focus Award
The Ray County Coalition, MO, serves a predominately rural population approximately one hour from Kansas City. When the coalition first formed in 2000, there was little tangible data to guide their planning efforts to prevent underage drinking. The coalition members created an assessment tool to capture data that would point to risk and protective factors. The coalition also conducted focus groups and worked with law enforcement to track alcohol compliance check data. Using data, this coalition targeted changing community laws and norms around alcohol, reducing availability of alcohol and changing attitudes about drinking. The specific interventions implemented include merchant retail training, compliance checks, development of youth councils to support prevention programming in the schools, social marketing/social norming, passage of city and county wide ordinances, and working with the schools to develop policies concerning underage drinking and participation in extra-curricular activities. This coalition has changed the local context to better support prevention of underage drinking. The percent of alcohol retailers in non-compliance has dropped from 50 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2006. Students responding that the community "norm" that teen drinking is "no big deal" dropped from 66 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2006. 30-Day Use of alcohol has also dropped from 31 percent in 2006 to 27 percent in 2008.
Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) serves Chesterfield County in central VA. In 2005, SAFE worked with the school board and implemented the first comprehensive youth survey since 1993, and the results indicated that inhalant abuse among 8th graders was much higher than the national norm: lifetime use at 20 percent was higher than the national average of 12 percent and past 30-day use at 8 percent was double the national average of 4 percent. The coalition realized that it must address a problem that had been invisible to them and immediately formed an inhalant task force. There were no existing community-based model inhalant-abuse approaches, so the task force was required to develop their own approach to this serious problem. The resulting initiative requires the collaboration of many community partners and uses multiple strategies/activities, including the following: development of a multi-media training package to train staff at all elementary and middle schools in recognizing the signs and symptoms of inhalant abuse and knowing how talk to kids about them; working with schools to ensure that abusable products as excluded on student school supply lists, and incorporation of inhalants as part of school drug policies. SAFE also developed a media campaign developed for parents and other adults. SAFE encourages parents to assess products around the house, replacing them when possible and monitoring those that do not have safer substitutes. While this is a new area of focus for the coalition, the November 2007 survey showed a 40 percent reduction in lifetime use and 44 percent drop in past 30-day use of inhalants among eighth-graders. The coalition is optimistic that the 2009 student survey will show additional decreases and establish a decreasing trend in inhalant abuse among their community’s youth.