The Roundup -

Drug-Free Communities Launches Coalition, Social Media Campaign 

 

The Dry Society Society met on Wednesday, June 10 and will continue to hold meetings twice a month on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. in the Community Service Building, Sidney. (L to R) Loren Schweiger, Louisa Amos, and Shea Roberts.

The Richland County Health Department received funding for the Drug-Free Communities grant at the end of last year. This 5-year grant provides the capacity for engineering a new project that focuses on youth substance use prevention.

Here is a brief update of grant activities as it gets off the ground. 

The grant established a new coalition, a group by the name of "The Dry Society". We would like to invite the youth, particularly middle and high school students, as well as interested parties to attend and provide feedback about projects and ideas. Meetings are being held twice a month on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. in the Community Service Building (check our Facebook for the most recent information). 

Youth substance use is a complicated issue. There are many avenues for prevention and substances to target. However, the coalition has decided to focus on youth consumption of alcohol. Youth alcohol use has been indicated to be an important cultural community issue. When the CHA (Community Health Assessment) was completed in 2018, Eighty-one per cent of Richland County viewed alcohol abuse as a community problem. Particularly, binge drinking is of concern. Binge drinking was chosen as a focus area because the area youth and community members selected it as a primary concern. Unfortunately, our county has very high rates of binge drinking. According to the 2018 PNA (Prevention Needs Assessment), 42% of high school seniors reported binge drinking in the past two weeks compared to only 27% at a state level. The Dry Society will be addressing the community needs at large rather than narrowing in on substance use niches. By targeting the youth in general, we are hoping to facilitate a cultural shift away from the use of substances as a coping mechanism. 

Our little slice of Montana can help stop our youth from using substances by taking a proactive approach and offering information about the risks, the consequences and providing safe alternatives to drinking. Our community believes strongly in supporting our kids and that's what The Dry Society is all about. 

Our first major project is implementing a social media awareness campaign. We have built a Facebook group, an Instagram and a Snaphchat. We will be providing more information about the effects of substance use on youth as well as providing alternative activities and ways to get involved with the coalition. 

Please follow The Dry Society on https://www.facebook.com/groups/thedrysociety, https://www.instagram.com/thedrysocietyrichland/ and Snapchat: thedrysociety to learn more and get involved!

 

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