From the Director, By Stephanie A. Strutner, MPH, Executive Director
As most of you are aware, ASAP of Anderson County is funded in part through a Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program (administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy with support from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). Since the Drug Free Communities Act was passed in 1997, thousands of coalitions across the country have benefited from the ability to develop local solutions.
Recent data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower. Over the life of the program, youth living in communities funded by a DFC project have experienced significant reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.
Among these communities, middle school youth show a 16% reduction in alcohol use, 27% reduction in tobacco use, and 23% reduction in marijuana use. High school youth in the same communities show reductions in alcohol use by 9%, tobacco by 16%, and marijuana by 7%. The contributions of community coalitions are identified as being a critical part of the National drug prevention infrastructure.
Rates of substance use have shown a significant decline in DFC communities across all substances, as illustrated by the chart pictured here. In addition, prevalence of past 30-day use is significantly lower in DFC high school students as compared to a nationally-representative sample of high school students.
While drug misuse continues to be at the forefront of the minds of so many, as our coalition continues to move forward, let us not lose sight of the fact that perceptions of substance use are moving in the right direction. Among DFC funded grantees, perception of risk for alcohol and tobacco have increased significantly, as did youth perception of parental disapproval. Historical data shows that as perception of risk is high, prevalence of use will be low.
Thank you so much for all you do to aid in prevention efforts in this community! Keep up the good work.