Coalitions in Action—Comprehensive Prevention Services and Reducing Substance Misuse in Bullitt County

“Partners in Prevention (PIP) was founded in 1995 in Bullitt County, Kentucky,” said the coalition’s DFC Grant Coordinator Allison Robinson. “The coalition was formed as a partnership between the Bullitt County Board of Education, the Health Department, local law enforcement and Seven Counties services to address a variety of community problems related to substance misuse.  The mission statement of PIP is a coalition of “caring and involved citizens working to create a safe and healthy environment through comprehensive prevention services and reducing substance misuse among Bullitt county youth and families.” The county as well as the coalition membership has grown exponentially in the last several years. Bullitt County is a rural community of 80,000 residents just south of Louisville, KY. The western fifth of the county is part of the United States Army Ft. Knox military base and is reserved for military training. 

The biggest challenge our coalition has faced is staying connected to our members and youth since we have not been able to hold in-person meetings or hold VIP Club meetings in-person. We have utilized the amazing virtual world to host our meetings and maintained our presence on social media. We have united with our local health department and other grant initiatives to incentivize the youth in Bullitt County to engage and advocate for healthy living through social media outlets. On a positive note, our youth, due to their flexible schedules now with remote learning, have been able to participate virtually in our monthly coalition meetings.   

During this time, we have been involving our students in virtual activities and campaigns, such as Red Ribbon Week, National Kindness Week, TikTok challenges, social media campaigns and a REEL Action Video Contest partnered with Seven Counties Services. With the help of our FRYSCs, we have been distributing prescription lock boxes to grandparents and parents that have social norms messaging on the sticker of the lockbox. We provided grocery tote bags with positive social norms messaging on them to our family resource and youth services center to hand out during their grocery/pantry food drives. We have sent home mailers to all  of our 9th graders with social norms messaging as well as how much we miss them at school.  We have distributed magnets for parents to put on their refrigerators at home that provide alcohol prevention and tips for keeping alcohol away from youth in the home. We have strived very hard to promote, teach and educate the community and youth any prevention messages, statistics and current trends via our social media outlets.   

In August, Bullitt County Partners in Prevention Coalition participated in an event called National Night Out that partnered with local community members, particularly our local law enforcement agency to partner with them and stand against crime.  During this event, Partners in Prevention coalition members were able to discuss a variety of issues with families, parents, and provide materials, resources and information as a support.   

With the cancellation of our KIP data survey in 2020, we utilized the Parent Power Survey to gain insight into trends within our families of the community. Also, we utilized business insights on social media to see how our engagement has changed during the pandemic. In addition, the social media accounts have increased the name and visibility of the coalition in the virtual world, allowing increased access and engagement to the local community.   

The pandemic caused us to have to think outside of the box. We have created new ways to market the coalition and really dove into the social media component. Our advice would be to really get the youth involved to get your message out and definitely get your community members to spread the word. Family Resource Centers/ Youth Services Centers are an excellent resource to get your message and campaigns out there.