Substance Abuse Prevention

The county manages and directly provides comprehensive substance abuse prevention programming for 5th-12th grade students in each of the 5 Pacific County school districts.  In addition to direct service programs and curriculums, we also provide community mobilization and coalition building assistance in both north and south pacific county.  Specific substance abuse prevention strategies include:

Project Northland- The goal of Project Northland is to delay the age when young people start drinking, reduce alcohol use among young people who have already tried drinking, and limit the number of alcohol related problems.  Alcohol is the focus of the Project Northland program because it is the drug of choice of Pacific County teams and inflicts the most harm during this period.  This best practice program includes three separate multi week curriculum that are delivered in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms countywide including Slick Tracy (6th), Amazing Alternatives (7th) and Powerlines (8th).  The curricula includes a variety of educational strategies including group discussions, role play, peer-led activities, class games, problem solving, videotape, and small group projects.  Topics covered over the course of the series include media literacy, problem solving, refusal skills, and providing youth with opportunities to become positive influences in their communities.

Class Action- This classroom based “Mock Trial” curriculum is the follow up to the Project Northland series.  Pacific County either directly provides or provides support for classroom teachers to implement this program in 9th or 10th grade classrooms countywide. Based on the social influences theory, this evidence-based program aims to change the social norms around alcohol use and to change negative peer pressure into positive peer pressure using the highly interactive curriculum that helps teens see the real world consequences of underage alcohol use.  Using casebooks and audio CD’s, students are divided into legal teams to prepare and present hypothetical civil cases in which someone has been harmed as a result of underage drinking.  The Six Class Action cases include:

  • Drinking and Driving
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Drinking and Violence
  • Date Rape
  • Drinking and Vandalism
  • School Alcohol Policies

Adventure Day– All Pacific County 6th graders take part in Adventure Day  course at the beginning of each school year at our low ropes challenge course at Bruceport County Park.  Students in groups of 7-10 are challenged to work in teams to complete low ropes course elements including the “spider web”, “prouty’s landing”, “swamp walk”, and the “trust fall” among others.  Students gain skills such as team work, communication, and positive risk taking, while learning to trust their classmates and having fun during this day long adventure.

Community Mobilization/Coalition Development– Our department supports the work of community coalitions in both north and south pacific county.  We provide technical assistance and support to the North County Teen Advisory Committee (TAC) and in south county to the WellSpring Community Network.  The mission of TAC is to reduce youth substance abuse and promote mental health for all youth in north pacific county.  The mission of WellSpring is to promote wellness by reducing substance abuse and strengthening families in South Pacific County. Pacific County also acts as the fiscal agent for WellSpring’s federal Drug Free Communities Grant and WellSpring serves as the Community Mobilization Policy Board for Pacific County.

Both of these grass roots organizations work to bring community members and agencies together to develop and implement community based substance abuse prevention (and mental health promotion) programs in our community.  By working together we reduce duplication of services and ensure efficient, high quality social services are available to all citizens in Pacific County.  The groups enjoy broad community support and representation from multiple sectors of the community including parents, youth, law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse treatment, healthcare, religious community, juvenile justice, schools, and service clubs among many others.  For information or to get involved in either group, please contact Katie Lindstrom at 360-875-9300 ex 2648.