Safe Communities Coalition of Hunterdon and Somerset counties, managed by Prevention Resources, Inc., participated in the 10th annual National campaign to “Shatter the Myths” for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week (NDAFW), held January 22 through 28, 2018.
The goal of this campaign is to stimulate science-based conversation about substance use and addiction via community events and initiatives. The Safe Communities Youth Sector led Hunterdon (HCYC) and Somerset (SCYC) in a collaborative and layered approach by targeting local high schools, peers, and social media.
“Our young people are greatly concerned about how their community, locally and nationally, are being impacted by substance use and mental health issues. Our students are advocates for living well, and that means being healthy holistically, living without substances, and they actively lead their peers and community in this lifestyle,” said HCYC Youth Leader, Amy Menes.
The Coalition’s social media campaign on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SafeCommunitiesCoalition) and Instagram (@HCYC_NJ) reached over four thousand in just the week’s span, sharing facts, PSAs, and articles.
Radio show host, Kim Blanda hosted Safe Communities Regional Coalition Project Director Lesley Gabel for a special guest spot to discuss the local drug crisis on Chamber of Commerce’s Hunterdon Chamber Radio, which can be heard via podcast online.
“One of our goals here is to encourage our community to practice Safe Medicine Use: take only as prescribed; Safe Storage: use a Medlock Box or keep out of medicine cabinets; and Safe Disposal: regularly use a local Medicine Drop Box,” said Lesley Gabel about her spot on Chamber Radio. “Together, Hunterdon and Somerset have 19 locations where people can safely drop off their unused, unwanted, or expired medications,” she added.
The Coalition also thanks Coalition Members Jeffrey Moore, Superintendent at Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Jeff Hunt, SAC at North Hunterdon Voorhees District, and Margaret Christofely, SAC at South Hunterdon Regional High School, for facilitating school morning announcements that reached over six thousand students and faculty.
“NDAFW is a great opportunity to spread awareness to our youth by being honest about the effects of drugs and alcohol. Our youth interact with different activities to learn the facts and have fun at the same time. It is extremely important to send a universal message across the country to improve the lives of our children,” said SCYC Coordinator Joe Diacheysn.
Safe Youth Coalition also held a “Shatter the Myths” Movie Night that included trivia and a Q&A segment featuring special guest speaker, Kacey, a Recovery Coach at Prevention Resources’ Recovery Center, located at their local Harvest Family Success Center. During the event, students discussed what they believed to be the biggest issues facing youth and how to solve them; items ranged from substance use, mental health, overdose, and suicide.
Teens also shared ideas of how to leave risky situations, code words or emojis they use with their parents, and discussed the importance of the Overdose Prevention Act and the steps to take to save someone’s life (1. Call for help; 2. Stay with the victim; 3. Speak with authorities when they arrive). This protective legislation was enacted in 2012 to reduce barriers of people calling for help in overdose cases.
These students are leaders and role models, dedicated to the betterment of the community. Their mission is to reduce underage drinking and substance use by participating in prevention initiatives, volunteer activities, and promoting a substance-free lifestyle.
For more information, please visit www.safecommunities.org, or call Prevention Resources at 908-782-3909.
New members are always welcome. Those interested in HCYC, please contact Youth Leader, Amy Menes on Remind App @joinHCYC (safe communication sharing), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org | For SCYC, please contact Youth Coordinator Joe Diacheysn at Joe@empowersomerset.com
About the Safe Communities Coalition: The goal of the Safe Communities Coalition is to live in a safe and healthy community by eliminating drug use, underage drinking and prescription drug abuse. Through wide-spread community collaboration, environmental change, and community education in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, the Safe Communities Coalition will address areas of concern including, but not limited to, reducing Rx drug abuse across the lifespan, underage drinking, tobacco, marijuana, heroin, and other drug use. For more information on the Coalition, visit our website at www.safecoalition.org or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SafeCommunitiesCoalition, Twitter @safe_coalition or Instagram @ safe_communities