Our programs are strategically designed to target areas of need based on research and implemented using evidence-based strategies.
“INTERVENING VARIABLE 1: Low Perception of Risk of Alcohol and Other Drugs” (Community Coalition Alliance, 2015)
According to data provided by the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey for Alachua County in 2014, middle school and high schoolers underestimate the harm of using marijuana and drinking alcohol. 59.7 percent and 50.3 percent of middle school and high schoolers respectively reported a great harm in having 5+ drinks once or twice a week. 55.9 percent of middle schoolers and only 24.7 of high schoolers perceived a harm in marijuana use once or twice a week (Florida Department of Children and Families, 2004). In order to combat this, HPW has implemented Town Hall Meetings and the Know the Law Campaign. See below for more details describing these!
Opiate Task Force
The Opiate Task Force includes partners from the UF Department of Epidemiology, HealthStreet, VA Hospital, UF Health Pediatrics, North Florida Regional Medical Center, community coalitions such as the Levy County Prevention Coalition and Hernando Community Coalition as well as law enforcement support from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office.
Our goal is to develop an action plan, implement prevention measures and address the growing opioid crisis in Florida. We have several initiatives such as:
- Emergency Management Model to address opioid cases as they occur in Alachua County
- Prevention Messaging through widespread advertisement campaignsFlorida Opiate Crisis Consortium which is a collection of Florida health coalitions to pool resources and fund prevention activities
- Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome video series produced with the UF College of Journalism.
- Opiate Resource Hub which is an online tool for coalitions and health providers to research opioid statistics, prevention measures and treatment ideas
- Deterra Bag Distribution: The HPW Coalition has received a donation of 5,000 free safe prescription disposal bags. In coordination with the UF Department of Epidemiology, the coalition will be distributing them around Gainesville, FL.
Know the Law
Know the Law is an educational program for middle school and high school students surrounding alcohol and other drug laws. Local sheriffs and police officers from Alachua County Sheriff’s Office visit Gainesville schools to teach students about the potential consequences of breaking the law as well as the health effects of abusing drugs in a classroom setting. In 2016, the Coalition served 1,953 students with this program in Alachua County.
Town Hall Meetings
In the past, the HPW Coalition hosted a Town Hall Event with a keynote speaker that discussed notable issues regarding drug use, youth health and various other topics. This was also an opportunity for community organizations to gather and promote their activities before the event.
Beginning this year, the Coalition will now hold mini-meetings with individual school PTAs to discuss reported data of youth substance abuse. These efforts would not be possible without support from our partners at Gainesville High School.
“INTERVENING VARIABLE 2: Social Norms Accepting of Alcohol and Other Drugs” (Community Coalition Alliance, 2015)
Alachua county’s youth currently have a culture of positive social norms in relation to alcohol and drugs. 61 percent of high schoolers report there is no great risk in having 1 or 2 drinks nearly every day. Approximately 3 out of every 4 high schoolers associate no risk in using marijuana once or twice a week, this is interesting because only 18% of high schoolers reported having used marijuana in the past 30 days. We are aiming to show youth that not many of their peers are drinking or doing drugs. For example, only 28.4 percent of high schoolers and 10.4 percent of middle schoolers report having had alcohol in the last 30 days (Florida Department of Children and Families, 2004). In an attempt to try and change the culture and perception of alcohol and drug use in Alachua County, HPW is implementing the Friday Night Done Right Strategy.
Friday Night Done Right
Alcohol and drug free events for youth that promote the message that most teens do not need to drink and use drugs to have a good time. Currently, there is an Alachua County Youth Summit in progress to determine the needs of youth and how to prevent substance abuse, especially in the East Side of Gainesville.
“INTERVENING VARIABLE 3: Social Access and Availability of Alcohol and Other Drugs” (Community Coalition Alliance, 2015)
It is important to note that of the high schoolers in Alachua County who reported having had alcohol in the last 30 days, the highest reported source was “someone gave it to me” (Florida Department of Children and Families, 2004). To reduce this access to alcohol, HPW is implementing the Parents Who Host, Lose the Most Strategy, and Compliance Checks/Responsible Server and Merchant Training Sessions.
Parents Who Host Lose the Most
A public awareness program educating communities and parents about the health and safety risks of serving alcohol at teen parties. In the past, the HPW Coalition has tabled at various events in Gainesville and brought a greater understanding to this critical issue. During the Spring, we will resume our efforts when we bring in our semester interns from the University of Florida.
Responsible Vendor Training
The HPW Coalition hosts trainings for local bars, restaurants and various other alcohol vendors to teach businesses about the proper ways to serve alcohol. In coordination with local law enforcement agencies, these trainings teach organizations how to avoid serving to minors and the basics of local drug legislation.
Organizations that attend this training gain a Responsible Vendor Training Certification. In the Spring, we will host more training sessions in a partnership with the Florida Division of Alcohol, Beverage and Tobacco. We are also looking to work with the Craft Brewing Festival to hold additional trainings.
The HPW Coalition recently received a prevention kiosk that can be utilized at schools and community events to educate youth about the dangers of drinking and substance abuse. In an effort to improve this resource, the coalition is renovating and retrofitting the kiosk with updates and new features. Local law enforcement agents have been assisting us on this project with valuable advice and insight. We look forward to revealing the upgraded kiosk next Spring.
Community Coalition Alliance (2015). CCA Northeast Evaluation.
Florida Department of Children and Families. (2004). Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, Alachua County. Retrieved May 11, 2016, from http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/publications/fysas/2014Survey/Counties/Alachua.pdf.
For all the statistics regarding Alachua County from the Florida Youth and Substance Abuse Survey please follow this link: http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/programs/samh/publications/fysas/2014Survey/Counties/Alachua.pdf.