Phone: (941) 922-SAFE
Fax (941) 922-7699
SCoSA Promotes Substance Abuse Free Environments (SAFE)

Accomplishments

The Parenting Project, based upon research that identifies family involvement as a major protective factor, was a collaborative effort from 2001 to 2003. In partnership with the Safe School Liaisons, we ran a parent event called ‘Linking Families Night’ at every middle school where we featured the PowerPoint presentation “Better Futures” along with other activities, food, and fun. Additionally, SCoSA had an active presence at numerous community events and health fairs distributing parent literature from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Moreover, we ran a substance abuse prevention parenting program called ‘Roots and Wings’ in the workplace.

Our Family and Schools Committee has developed an action plan for 2004-2006 that builds upon the work of the Parenting Project. The new effort PARENT LEADER PROJECT is based upon the Parent Corps Model, a new drug-prevention initiative of President George W. Bush that acknowledges the power of parents and supports them by giving them the tools they need to keep their children drug-free. Interested parents can contact the Coalition to learn how they can become a part of this dynamic team that provides valuable information to other parents. This year, through a partnership with the Hanley Center of West Palm Beach, we have the proven-effective, science-based, model prevention program ‘Project Northland’ being implemented in all schools of the Dioceses of Venice (Bradenton to Naples), and several Sarasota County charter and private schools. This prevention curriculum is unique in that at each grade level – 6 to 12 there is a sting parent involvement component.

Since 2001, SCoSA has been distributing prevention literature to area schools, libraries, pharmacies, and doctors’ offices through our Prevention Marketing Project. SCoSA is a major partner in the USF Community Based Social Marketing project that led to the development of the BELIEVE IN ALL YOUR POSSIBILITES campaign targeting the reduction of middle school tobacco and alcohol use. This campaign produced a DVD/video for parents titled “Can We Talk”; two plays: “End of Summer” and “Surviving Lunch”; and a parent brochure called “What Do You Think?” Moreover, the campaign included numerous other marketing tools geared at raising protective factors among our youth.

The Prevention Information Center in Venice, funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, served as a hub of outreach for the South County area from 2003-2004. During the year it was in operations, the Center was a repository of information, data, best practices, and other materials available to the community. Staff disseminated 3000 pamphlets on drug and alcohol resources in the County, 500 “Can We Talk” video/DVDs, 40 display racks, 500 literature bags, and countless printed materials at health fairs, school events, and community meetings.

The Prevention Information Center in Venice, funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, served as a hub of outreach for the South County area from 2003-2004. During the year it was in operations, the Center was a repository of information, data, best practices, and other materials available to the community. Staff disseminated 3000 pamphlets on drug and alcohol resources in the County, 500 “Can We Talk” video/DVDs, 40 display racks, 500 literature bags, and countless printed materials at health fairs, school events, and community meetings.

The Civil Citations Program was a collaborative effort, funded by the Department of Juvenile Justice from 2001 to 2003, to divert first-time offenders into a restitution program. During that time, a total of 95 citations were written and 75 youth were eligible for the program. They received assessment and participated in a variety of activities such as counseling, community service, life skills instructions, and writing letters of apology. At the end of the program, 95% of the participants completed the activities and 85% remained crime-free at the six months follow up. The program could not have been successful without the collaborative efforts of local law enforcement, service providers, and SCoSA staff.

The Rainbow Initiative for Healthy Living Project was a collaborative effort put forth by Community AIDS Network, Inc., Hispanic Latino Coalition, Project Challenge of the West Coast Inc. and SCoSA. Funding was provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration through the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. The Rainbow Initiative for Healthy Living Report (Rainbow Report) is the culmination of twelve months (10/01 – 9/02) of activities focusing on the issues of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse in the Black and Hispanic/Latino communities in Sarasota County. The Rainbow Report reviews: 1) prevalence and trends, 2) access to services, and 3) strategies necessary to meet the needs of the communities.

Drug Free Workplace Program is an ongoing effort to promote the adoption of drug free workplace practices based upon Department of Labor guidelines, with additional parent informational workshops in all business sectors. A spin off program is Drug Free Schools, which follows the same concept but based upon Department of Education guidelines. Both programs are primarily funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. To date, we have given over 50 presentations and registered eleven businesses as Drug Free Workplaces. In June 2004, the Sarasota Military Academy adopted both programs. In October 2004, the Catholic Diocese of Venice adopted the Drug Free Schools program. The Greater Sarasota, Venice, and North Port Chambers of Commerce embraced the promotion of the Drug Free Workplace Program among their members.

Prevention in the Classroom is an ongoing effort to introduce small units of prevention curricula in all grades and all schools. Mainly funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, this project produced an action plan for reaching middle schools with prevention materials. This is a progressive effort towards conducting training for elementary teachers and beyond to promote prevention curricula. In 2003, School Resources and DARE officers put together a course on drug awareness for in-service credit for teachers and parents. The course ran five weeks and was attended by 35 people each week.

Demand Treatment! Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral Project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation from 2003 to 2004, to implement Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral services (SBIR) in local emergency rooms, public health clinics and other settings. This project involved three components: 1) Implement policy changes to require screenings and professional training; 2) Complete social marketing campaigns targeted at at-risk drinkers and their loved ones; and 3) Create a set of service directories to improve and guide referrals. To date, varying degrees of success have been obtained in each component. In November 2002, key stakeholders signed the SCoSA Public Policy Statement and this is the framework for our Fiscal Year 2004-2007 Strategic Plan; in 2004, we developed and implemented the SAFE (Substance Abuse Free Environments) Campaign to raise community awareness and promote ownership of solutions to reduce substance abuse throughout Sarasota County; and we have piloted a screening tool and distributed a over 3000 S/A directories plus several email and CD versions to providers. Public policy strategies, the SAFE campaign, and the service directories are ongoing efforts of the Coalition.

Senior Outreach is the ongoing effort of the Senior Focus Committee. Since inception, we have given over 75 presentations on life skills and substance abuse prevention and intervention as it relates to seniors. Developed presentations on: Substance Abuse and Stress; Domestic Violence; and Depression. Created “Is Recovery for You?” and “You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks” brochures. Expanded information distribution through the medicine bag program. Held two major community events: The “Hidden Trio: Addiction, Drugs, and Violence” and “Trouble in Paradise: Substance Abuse Issues among Seniors”

Building Bridges is the ongoing effort of staff and support members. We serve on the following local entities: the Community Alliance of Sarasota County, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Consortium, the Sarasota County Juvenile Justice Council, the 12th Curciut Board of the Florida Dept. of Juvenile Justice, the Mentoring Taskforce, the Healthy Start Coalition, YMCA Euclid Branch Board of Directors, the Sarasota County Aging Network, the Hispanic Latino Coalition, Sarasota United for Equity and Responsiblilty, SCOPE Implementation Taskforces, and several others. The outcomes of these activities and subsequent relationships are immeasureable for this is what a Coalition is truly formed to do—connect with our community partners to increase our capacity to create positive change.

© 2001-2004 Sarasota Coalition on Substance Abuse, INC. All rights reserved