Substance Abuse Prevention

.. ty it was determined that 51% of high school seniors have consumed more than one alcoholic beverage in the past two weeks. 37% of seniors reported binge drinking, which is more than four or five drinks. These numbers are particularly disturbing because everyone in high school is below the legal drinking age. This forces us to answer the questions, where do these kids get the alcohol they are consuming and how can we stop the consumption.

2. Tobacco use is also a significant concern in the Springfield area. At a time when smoking among adults is decreasing in popularity, it is increasing among adolescents and teenagers. Every day, an estimated 3,000 teenagers begin smoking. According to the Surgeon General, in the lifetimes of those 3,000 teens, 60 will die in traffic accidents, 30 will be murdered, and 750 will die from smoking related diseases. Nearly 85 percent of all smokers say they started smoking before age 18.

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Studies show that the younger a person starts smoking, the more likely they are to become addicted and continue the use of nicotine. Some prevention specialists see cigarette smoking as a gateway drug, a substance that leads to the use of other drugs. This is because smoking is seen by many adolescents as an act of defiance of authority and often takes place in groups where other acts of defiance take place. In the Springfield area alone 21% of people surveyed said that they smoke cigarettes and nearly half of all high school seniors have tried smoking. This is disturbing due to the fact that 434,000 Americans, including 10,000 from Missouri, die each year from smoking-related cancers, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. 3.

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. In 1996 50% of all high school students reported using marijuana at least once. This is a 3% increase over a one-year period. In the Springfield area the increase is greater. Use increased 10% over a recent two-year period.

This is obviously far greater than the national average and is a source of concern. Any use of marijuana is disturbing simply due to the fact that it is illegal. In addition, it has been proven to cause cancers, to prevent the development of male sexual characteristics in adolescent boys, and cause burn out (user appears to be dull and slow). The main goals of our plan are as follows: Alcohol Goal: Significantly reduce use among minors as well as drunk driving. Objective: Reduce each by 20% over a five-year period.

Means of accomplishing objective: With cooperation of D.A.R.E. officials and schools we will institute alcohol abuse awareness programs such as mock drunk driving accidents, D.A.R.E. counseling, and speakers promoting appropriate use of alcohol. All of this will take place during regular school hours beginning at the elementary schools and continuing throughout high school. Contents of the programs will be age based.

With cooperation of local liquor patrol we will impose an aggressive campaign towards reducing the sale of alcohol to minors. This will be accomplished by liquor patrol agents posing as gas station and grocery store attendants. This will also effectively increase adult awareness of the problem. Finally, also with cooperation of the police, we will set up DWI checkpoint on random major streets every Thursday through Saturday evenings. This should effectively reduce the amount of drunk drivers on city streets.

Tobacco Goal: Significantly reduce tobacco use among people that are younger than 18. Objective: To reduce tobacco use by 35% over five years. Means of accomplishing objective: Together with local businesses and the mayor we are going to post aggressive anti-tobacco advertisements. The advertisements will be graphic and show what tobacco use can do to your lungs, throat, and/or mouth. This will be done to show people what can really happen to your body if you choose to use tobacco. With cooperation of the local school districts we will impose anti-tobacco programs in junior high and high schools. This will be a mandatory program that will take place once in the fall and once in the spring.

By doing this we will be able to see progress from each semester to the next. Finally, with cooperation of local businesses and local government we will impose a no smoking law in public places and a no smoke break law for underage users. This will prevent underage users from being able to smoke in certain places. By taking away smoking privileges people will be forced to cut back on their tobacco habits. Marijuana Goal: To reduce use and distribution of marijuana throughout the population.

Objective: To reduce marijuana use and distribution by 50% over five years. Means of accomplishing objective: Together with the schools and local D.A.R.E. officials we will put more of an emphasis on the use of marijuana than other drugs to be discussed. This is due to the fact that marijuana is usually the first drug that new users prefer. With the cooperation of the police and local government we will impose stronger consequences on marijuana distributors and other users.

These consequences will include longer jails terms for major distributors as well as higher fines and more drug abuse prevention programs. Together with local businesses we will create an anti-marijuana advertising campaign. These will be signs posted around the city and even bigger billboards along the highway. Also, we will run an ad campaign on local radio and television stations. In January of each year we will receive $100,000 for a total of $500,000 over the next five years. This money will be received by a combination of government grants and support of local business owners.

The project will begin in January 2001. The coalition will immediately begin its advertising campaign as well as weekend DWI checkpoints. Also, the liquor patrol will begin posing as gas station and grocery store workers. Funding for these will be divided as necessary between current local advertising rates and current police pay rates. Beginning in August of 2001, we will implement school education programs in the elementary and secondary levels of education.

These will take place with the cooperation of school officials, local D.A.R.E. officials, and with outside speakers. The funding allotment for this program will be evaluated quarterly throughout the five year period in order to ensure proper funding for each aspect of the entire program. Projections for exact funding of specific portions of the plan will be determined as each plan is implemented and re-evaluated. Timeline Year 1 January February March April *Receive funding*Implement all programs except school based programs *Evaluate funds allotment *Continue programs *Continue programs May June July August *Evaluate funds allotment *Continue programs *Continue programs *Continue programs*Implement school based programs September October November December *Evaluate funds allotment *Continue programs *Continue programs *Continue programs*Year end progress evaluation *There will be monthly CWPP meetings to determine progress and examine funding. *Years 2-5 will carry out the already established programs. Evaluation As of September 2001 the overall results of the program have been quite positive. Community awareness has grown and adult recognition of the problems has increased greatly. We may need to implement more active police support in the reduction of marijuana distribution in the city. This is due to the increase of the amount of the drug being locally grown.

School programs, although young, have been widely accepted by parents. Students also seem to see the necessity of these programs. Funding projections are on line due largely to active support of local business owners. Within the next fiscal year we may be able to implement more in depth plans primarily in the region of reducing alcohol sales to minors with further increased participation of local liquor patrol officials.