The Harrison County Family Resource Network Prevention Team distributed valuable prevention information at the WVU Women's Basketball game on January 26th. On this Family Day at the coliseum, materials pertaining alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs prevention was available for attendees to read and take home. The team also distributed 150 clear bags containing prevention information to those in attendance. Also available were Deterra kits - safe, environmentally friendly disposal kits for expired or excess medications. The overwhelming response from the attendees was refreshing. Executive Director Elizabeth Shahan said of the event, "It's an amazing opportunity to share a hopeful message and resources with a group of people so passionate about our state. The obvious concern our community has for substance use disorder shows how critical this information and the message of hope are to our Mountaineers."
With a gracious donation from two local businesses, the United Methodist Temple will be able to add valuable stores of food to their food pantry in a time of need. Precision Pipeline Spread A, a group of spouses of pipeline workers, approached the Harrison County Family Resource Network with a $1000 donation to help children in need in our community. Dismas Charities Clarksburg, a local federal residential re-entry center, matched $200 of those monies making the total donation $1200. The HCFRN contacted the United Methodist Temple regarding the needs they had for their weekly brown bag program which feeds children in the community who are in need of additional supports. This would not have been possible without the gracious donation and thoughtful support from the Precision Pipeline Families. These families believe in meaningfully contributing to the places in which they work, even if they are only here for a short time. The UMT brown bag program provides wholesome food for children in our community on weekends and evenings throughout the summer. For more information on how you can donate to local programs, visit our website or contact your local food pantries.
The Drug Free All Stars played hard this week at Lincoln Middle School and Mountaineer Middle School, engaging students in a fun, energetic game of basketball. The All Stars shared the importance of making healthy choices. Their message is one of empowerment - "Everyone is a winner when the All-Stars are in town!"
The team is comprised of multiple personalities, including members from local businesses, community groups, media, law enforcement, and others. The team has games scheduled over a 200 mile radius in WV sharing their positive message to teens and helping them steer clear of alcohol and other drugs. Check out their Facebook Page to see the amazing work they do!
The Drug Free All Stars games at both Lincoln Middle School and Mountaineer Middle School were sponsored by Harrison County Family Resource Network with funds from their Project SUCCESS prevention program.
Marion County's Youth Coalition: P.A.R.T. focuses on Prevention to Better the Lives of Youth and Community Members
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Benjamin Franklin
Meet the youth making a difference in Marion County! P.A.R.T. is a community-based prevention coalition comprised of youth from high schools in Marion County. This group of engaging teens exists to promote PARTnerships (Positive And Reinforcing Thinking) to better the lives of youth and community members.
What does P.A.R.T. do?
The Marion County Youth Coalition uses a two-pronged approach to prevention:
1. To Empower the community to make healthy decisions
2. Help prevent youth from becoming burdened by alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
How do youth in this coalition make a difference?
If you speak with the teens of P.A.R.T., you will see an impressive level of commitment to prevention and change.
"We, the Marion County youth coalition, are committed to an alcohol, tobacco and drug free lifestyle. We have been trained in the following evidence based, nationally recognized programs:
In 2016, P.A.R.T. successfully worked toward the bigger goal of bringing all three high schools in Marion County together in a united effort. The coalition meets at a rotating site each month.
Using multiple prevention strategies, P.A.R.T. works together to provide information to the community about alcohol and drugs, attend prevention education trainings, and change community processes.
In 2019, P.A.R.T. has discussed strategies such as:
By engaging in the community and using prevention strategies that work, Marion County's P.A.R.T. Youth Coalition is focused on efforts to CREATE healthy choices to be PART of the SOLUTION!
P.A.R.T. is supported by Renee Verbanic, Adult Community Coach, who works diligently to provide tools, activities, and information to help the youth coalition make a lasting impact on the community.
P.A.R.T. Youth Coalition is a valuable asset of Project SUCCESS which is funded by a grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the WV Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health.
Prevention. Healthy Communities. Happy and Productive Youth. It's what we, prevention specialists and coalition coordinators, want to accomplish. But how do we do that? Evidence-based programs in schools - it's a start. Town halls and community conversations - another great tool. Legislation and policy changes - a big impact on the accessibility of drugs and alcohol. Research shows that risk and protective factors are big indicators of future substance use among our youth. If we increase protective factors, we negate risk factors. In our communities, we have focused a great deal of our efforts on individual risk and protective factors. Working to educate youth and build protective factors among our teens and young adults has been what we do. We have also focused on raising awareness of family and community risk and protective factors. However, awareness is only one small piece. How do we take the step from awareness to action? Iceland figured it out. With the collaboration of researchers, policy makers, schools, and parents, Iceland has moved from the top ranked country in Europe in teen alcohol and substance use to the LOWEST ranked. From 1998 to 2018 (a 20 year period), Iceland's rate of 15-16 year old alcohol use went from 42% to just 5%. The percentage of 15-16 year olds who tried cannabis - down from 17% to just 7%. And cigarettes? Twenty years ago, 23% of teens were smoking - now that rate is down to just 3%.
How did Iceland do it? During a collaborative conversation with a HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) planning grantee and applicants, one of the most profound things we discovered about the Icelandic Model of prevention is that at no point during the implementation of the model did schools, parents, or government agencies talk about drugs! Going back to the research on risk and protective factors, science shows that increasing one protective factor in a teen's life negates THREE risk factors. Rather than talking about drugs and the risks associated with them, Iceland focused on how to occupy teens, family engagement, and community/government commitment to a positive environment for teens. Watch the video below - the process is one of research based prevention.
There are multiple articles, research, and reports on the success of the Icelandic Model - it has been successful in 35 communities in Europe. While the U.S. is a long way from implementing something similar to the Icelandic model, there are many things we can do to improve our communities for our teens.
The Atlantic details the components of the Icelandic Model and shows the dramatic difference between the chaotic communities 20 years ago and the positive, supportive system that exists now.
WV is on the right track. we are leading the nation in creative research based strategies to positiviely impact the substance use disorder crisis. this is our next step.
Alarmingly, according to the 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey published by NIDA: National Institute on Drug Abuse, use of e-cigarettes has skyrocketed among teens. But what are they vaping? Results of the survey indicate teens are not only vaping nicotine, but also marijuana and hash oil.
"Nearly 2 in 5 students in the 12th grade report past-year vaping, raising concerns about the impact on brain health and potential for addiction." (Learn more here about the harmful effects of nicotine on an adolescent brain). Nearly 38% of 12th graders reported vaping in the past year, nearly 33% of 10th graders, and almost 18% of 8th graders!
In December 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General officially declared e-cigarette use among youth an epidemic in the United States. Talk to your teens about e-cigarettes! If you're having trouble finding a way to reach your teen, this tip sheet is a great resource.
What good news did this survey bring? The use of alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs, and cigarettes decreased dramatically in the past year! Over 15% of 12th graders smoked cigarettes in 2013 compared to only 7.6% in 2018. Past year use of illicit drugs (other than marijuana) is at the lowest levels in over 20 years. Binge drinking dropped significantly in the past five years as well. Prevention and education works!
To learn more about what you can do to get involved in the prevention efforts in your community, visit the HCFRN Website and find contact information for the Prevention Coordinator in your county.
Monitoring the Future is an annual survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders conducted by researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, under a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institutes of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Free and open to the public! WVU School of Public Health announced on their site yesterday that they will be hosting a Panel Discussion about Harm Reduction Programs. Topics of discussion include the current opioid crisis and community approaches to addressing the issue. Presenters will discuss multiple harm reduction programs but will specifically focus on syringe exchange programs. See more information about the panel discussion HERE. Presenters include an infectious disease researcher and leading U.S. author on the topic, a special agent with extensive experience in drug enforcement, and a healthcare policy leader.
For details about where and when this panel discussion will be held, visit the WVU School of Public Health website.
Use of E-Cigarettes by young people has increased dramatically in recent years. This website (a product of the Office of the United States Surgeon General, the Center for Disease Control, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) has great information about how e-cigarettes work, the risks our youths take when using them, and the business and marketing trends that have contributed to the increased use of e-cigarettes among our teens. Take the quiz and discover the facts of e-cigarettes and learn what you can do to take action to educate youth, community members, and healthcare providers about the risks of e-cigarette use.
Be an example for youth in our community. Know the facts!
On January 26th, 2019, the WVU Women's Basketball team will host Kansas State at the WVU Coliseum at 4:00 PM. Not only is this game a "Family Night" with less expensive ticket prices, but the game has been sponsored by the Harrison County Family Resource Network and Help & Hope WV. Join us as we support the WVU Women's Basketball team and learn more about our efforts to address substance use intervention and prevention in West Virginia.
Tickets can be purchased at WVUGame.com. Find out more about the Harrison County FRN at our website. Visit Help & Hope WV to learn how together we can help our fellow West Virginians and restore our families and communities.
Let's Go Mountaineers!
Harrison County Family Resource Network Staff to Attend CADCA's National Leadership Forum in February 2019
February 4th, 2019, marks the beginning of CADCA's National Leadership Forum, held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. This year, four staff from the Harrison County Family Resource Network will attend the forum which is an opportunity to share prevention best practices and learn from the nation's top prevention experts and policy-makers. HCFRN Staff will also participate in Capitol Hill day during the week, speaking with government leaders about prevention policies that affect our local community. Community anti-drug coalitions, government leaders, youth, addiction treatment professionals, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, youth and faith-based leaders will all be in attendance at this Forum, creating a great opportunity for resource and information sharing that can be used here in our region to address the current issues we are experiencing with substance use. If you have any topics of interest regarding prevention efforts or substance use in your area that we can bring to the table either during the Forum or Capitol Hill day, comment below!
Elizabeth M. Shahan, MSW, LGSW, PSII, has been the Executive Director of the organization for 8 years. Feel free to contact her at 304-423-5049.