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Prevention Week Promotes Local Substance Abuse Awareness

To prevent drug mis-use and increase awareness the Washington County Board as well as the towns of Okawville, Nashville and Steeleville have proclaimed May 10 to 16 Prevention Week. The Randolph County Commission is considering the proclamation as is Evansville. Prevention Week is a national

effort by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to inspire action.

Locally, the Southern Illinois Substance Abuse Alliance (SISAA) is implementing a successful prevention method, the Seven Strategies for Community Change to prevent drug misuse and promote recovery.

The Seven Strategies have achieved reductions in drug misuse by teens in hundreds of communities. SISAA is:

1. Providing Information – In Plain Sight Mock Teen bedroom programs, Health Fairs, Basketball games, community events, newspaper ads and stories as well as Facebook posts.

2. Enhancing Skills – Prevention lessons for middle school and high school students in Coulterville, Okawville, Chester, Red Bud, Sparta (including Evansville), and Steeleville. SISAA partners with Hoyleton in Washington County and these schools to deliver research based prevention lessons.

The coalition also provides programs at local meetings. Volunteers attend conferences and webinars to become well informed.

3. Providing Support – SISAA trained Youth leaders at 6 area high schools are encouraging their peers to talk with trusted adults about issues and planning to provide drug free alternative activities.

4. Enhancing Access/Reducing Barriers- Recovery efforts are being planned to increase the ease, ability and opportunity to utilize recovery systems and services.

5. Changing Consequences (Incentives/Disincentives) – Planning to work with alcohol and tobacco

retailers to address teens perception that it is easy for them to get these drugs from stores.

6. Physical Design – Planning to work with community leaders to address the abundance of alcohol

signs in our two counties promoting community and church events with beer. This contributes to high levels of acceptance of teen alcohol use by adults and teens.

7. Modifying/Changing Policies – Continuing successful public policy efforts promoting opting out of local retail marijuana. To date Washington and Randolph Counties as well as Evansville, Okawville, Nashville, Red Bud, Sparta and Steeleville have all opted out. Opting out encourages no use attitudes among teens regarding marijuana use.

Now SISAA is emphasizing Facebook messaging and newspaper ads because of COVID19. Unfortunately the isolation caused by the Coronavirus is increasing stress leading to increases in alcohol and drug mis-use. Dealing with an addiction alone is very difficult. The pandemic makes it even harder. Professional help and support is often needed. If you or someone close to you needs help local professional counseling is available. For professional counseling in Washington and Randolph Counties, call the Human Service Center at (618)282-6233.

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