|The new strategic prevention framework grant will focus on local prescription drug abuse.|
Community members and substance abuse professionals met at Four Corners Behavioral Health on June 12 to discuss the implementation of a new grant awarded for local prescription drug abuse programs. The Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant will be used to build prevention capabilities and infrastructure at the community level working to reduce substance related problems within the community.
"When we applied for the grant we had to option of taking on either underage drinking or prescription drug abuse and we decided to take a look at a problem that is affecting our community as a whole," said Liz Ferguson of Four Corners. "Prescription drugs continue to plague both teens and their parents. It is something we need to get a hold on."
According to a Power Point presentation given at the meeting, the strategic prevention framework (SPF) takes the public health approach to prevent substance related problems by focusing on change for entire populations.
The program will take substance abuse problems, introduce intervening variables and then develop programs, policies and practices specifically molded to a given community.
"We want to start by identifying specific focus groups and then question them to garner as much information as possible," said Ferguson. "We need to find out exactly what we are dealing with before we can take action to prevent it."
In addition to Ferguson, the projects board will consist of Georgina Nowak and Debbie Marvidikis from the Southeastern Utah Health District; Jeff Olinger, Utah State Department of Workforce Services; Sandra Garcia, Ann Grunvig and Karin Watkins, cwommunity development coalition; Dr. Sterling Potter, Castleview Hospital; Robert Cox, Carbon School District; Jennifer Brewer and Kyle Kyle Elder, Four Corners; Zena Robinson, Pinnacle Canyon Academy; and Juanita Robinson, Carbon Metro Drug Task Force
The SPF uses five main steps for aiding communities with substance abuse problems, including:
Assessment - profiles of population needs are conducted. Resources are inventoried and readiness to address needs and gaps are evaluated.
Capacity - community members and health professionals are mobilized to build capacity to address needs.
Planning - a strategic comprehensive plan is developed.
Implementation - evidence based prevention is implemented through programs and activities.
Evaluation, participants are monitored and evaluated so improvements can be made to adjust for those who are failing.
At the June 12 meeting, boardmembers discussed the possible questions to be posed to the community.
Along with standard inquiries concerning use, misuse and current situation, the group focused on finding out how much youth and adults know about prescription drugs and what may have stopped them from overusing the substances.
"Our focus here has to be prevention," said Marvidikis. "We have so many programs focused on helping people after the fact. I am happy to be part of a program that will work to address the problem before it ever gets started."
A logical and data driven plan is recommended by the state incentive grants Power Point. The plan included strategic goals. objectives and performance targets as well as logic models and in some cases action plans.
In addition to outlining a plan for the grant monies dispersal, the state SPF will look for the following outcomes as a marker of success within the program:
Functioning, self-sustaining coalitions that work well with prevention.
Staffing and prevention needs are being met.
Outcomes are proven by decreased or increased depending on measurements.
A data system is created for using, collecting and disseminating the data.
"We can't put our heads in the sand about this any longer," said Nowak. "Our area has a real problem and we are going to have to do whatever is necessary to protect our community as a whole before rehabilitation is the only option."