The Communication Campaign that the Prevention and Education Program of Ben Gordon Center coordinates have evolved since 2001. One of the main focus of this Campaign is underage drinking, tobacco, and other drug among youth in DeKalb County. Our Campaign was planned to connect, parents, teachers, middle and high school students as well as other community advocates with useful resources to effectively reduce underage drinking and drug use trough utilizing different venues of media. Since the Prevention and Education Team works with federal and state grant, the Communication Campaign was designed to fit the requirements of each of the entity. Although both Communication Campaigns serve the same purpose, which is the reduction of underage drinking and drug use among youth, they utilize different kinds of media and are aimed towards specific population.
Just recently, based on DCP/SAFE survey results, a focus of the Communication Campaign for both state and federal grant was changed from youth alcohol and tobacco to underage drinking and prescription drug use among youth. The Campaign incorporates the comprehensive environmental strategies and is utilized to increase knowledge, to change attitudes and behaviors, as well as change perceptions and influence motivation through different marketing and advertising techniques. By using posters, stall street journals, flyers, school announcements, presentations, and radio messages, the Prevention and Education wants to raise public awareness and gain public attention, particularly teens, for understanding substance abuse and its related risk and harm.
Public Policy Campaign
The Prevention and Education Program of Ben Gordon Center has been advocating for systems and policy change at the local and state levels for many years. Integration of compliance checks, as well as shoulder top operations led to measurable decrease in the number of sales to minors. In March 1994 the DeKalb City passed ordinance that required state certification for liquor establishment employees.
The Public Policy Campaign utilizes data-driven, multi-sector, comprehensive prevention strategies to change local conditions and reduce the risk factors that allow the underage drinking and other substance abuse by youth. Through the intricate collaboration with the community members and local government, the Prevention and Education Program is working recently on changing local ordinance related to social hosting. Passing the social ordinance would hopefully lead to reduction of underage drinking in DeKalb County. The ordinance would hold individuals criminally responsible for hosting or allowing an event on private or public property where persons under 21 posses or consume alcohol, regardless of who supplied the alcohol to the minors.
As a part of this Campaign, the Prevention and Education Team utilizes its current work plan to affect community change. The main focus is to increase fines for social hosting, implement harsher penalties for substance-related infractions as well as employing projects such as sticker shock program to alert adults to the legal consequences of providing alcohol to minors.
RX Drug Campaign
Prescription drugs use among youth has become a major concern in DeKalb County, and as a result, the Prevention and Education Team is determined to develop a Prescription Drug Campaign as one of its goals to make DeKalb community a safer and healthier place. The Campaign goal is to use environmental prevention strategies aimed at reducing prescription drug abuse and misuse among youth. It embraces a wealth of activities to increase awareness and education among members of the community.
One focus is to educate health care professionals regarding safe prescribing prescription drugs as well as implementing initiatives regarding prescription drug drop boxes for old prescriptions, and advocating the use of prescription drug lock boxes for the home. We realize that medications are supposed to help people, but, in the wrong hands prescription drugs can put our youth, and other members of the community at risk for misuse and abuse. Making drug discarding easier would encourage the members of the community to get rid of expired medications and unwanted drugs, therefore reducing youth access to prescription drugs.
Community Education Campaign
The Prevention and Education Program of Ben Gordon Center recognizes that some of the most innovative and effective approaches to dealing with issues of alcohol and substance abuse among youth happens at the community level. As a result, the Prevention and Education have designed the Community Education Campaign to increase awareness and to educate youth, teachers, parents, and other community members about underage drinking and drug use among youth. This Campaign strategy employs a grass roots level methodology and communication on the community level. It utilizes a mix of different approaches, with one approach being presentations to teach youth and others about the risk and harm of alcohol and other substance abuse. Several presentations are revealing some risk factors that might mitigate the problem to underage drinking.
As a part of this campaign, the Prevention and Education Program has been actively working with many schools in DeKalb County reaching out to youth, and providing them with knowledge that will allow them to understand the importance and significance of alcohol and substance abuse issues.