Drug & Alcohol Prevention Community Coalitions

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Both Deuel and Garden Counties have community coalitions (youth and adults) to reduce underage alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. The teams meet monthly throughout the school year. The Deuel County Coalition and Garden County Coalition are a part of the Panhandle Prevention Coalition, consisting of the eleven counties of the Nebraska Panhandle. Volunteers of America Western Nebraska serves as the fiscal agent and offers oversight to the coalitions. Funding is from a Drug-Free Community grant and Region 1 Behavioral Health grant. Data is provided by the Nebraska Risk and Protective Factor survey and other sources.

The focus of the coalitions has shifted from individual strategies to environmental strategies. Environmental strategies are effective, efficient, sustainable, and have immediate results. For example, suppose a two-year-old comes to visit your childless household. In that case, you may place household cleansers in a locked location, put plastic protective devices in the plug-ins, and install a gate at the head of the stairs (environmental strategies). You would not roll a watermelon down the stairs to demonstrate a possible head injury. Open the cupboard beneath the sink to display the cleaners and point out each electrical outlet saying no-no to the two-year-old (individual strategies).

The human brain frontal lobe does not develop until the age of 25. It is through policies and enforcement that our youth are protected. Education and communication are also included in the environmental strategies.

Garden County Coalition youth have promoted drug-free athletics, encouraged building positive assets for all young people, sponsored student-created media campaigns for the school, and received national-level training in evidence-based interventions. Compliance checks and Responsible Beverage Server Training have helped to reduce sales to underage youth.

Deuel County Coordinator: Judy Soper
Garden County Coordinator: Rose Brassfield