Laytonville Healthy Start’s Drug Free Communities Project is called EPIC – Environmental Prevention Strategies in the Community. The goals of EPIC are to:
- Reduce youth substance abuse of specifically, alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana abuse
- Build and sustain Coalition capacity and community collaboration
- Reduce use of alcohol, prescription drugs, and marijuana in the community through Environmental Prevention Strategies*
- Engage community members to sustain the work that is being done, even after the Drug Free Communities project is no longer being funded. If we want Laytonville to be a healthy and safe place, the community has to be on board.
To achieve these goals, a Healthy Start Coalition composed of community members who represent various “sectors” of the community – schools, businesses, community organizations, and individuals – was formed, and a vision and mission for Drug Free Communities Project was defined.
*What are “Environmental Prevention Strategies?”
Environmental Prevention Strategies impact the community “system.” These strategies:
- Limit access to substances
- Reduce the negative consequences associated with substance use, such as Drunk/Drugged Driving crashes, sexual assaults, other risky behavior that impacts not only an individual, but a community
- Influences rules/regulations (policies) and focus on community norms – does our community really promote substance use?
- Positive changes lead to the altering of an unhealthy “environment”
Indicators That Substance Abuse is Being Reduced in Laytonville
- Youth, as indicated by the California Healthy Kids Survey, report that 30-day use of substances and access to substances decreases;
- As indicated by the Coalition survey to the community conducted during the summer months, the community reports seeing changes;
- There is a decline in incidences of suspension, expulsions and arrests due to student’s using or bringing substances to school; and
- We can “take a picture” that our community is more healthy, thanks to Environmental Prevention Strategies that the community accepts.