Substance Abuse Prevention Community Assessment
The community that we have chosen to assess is Springfield, Missouri. Springfield is located in Green County in Southwest.According to the USDC, Bureau of the Census in 1999 the population estimate for the Springfield Metropolitan area was 308,332. The annual population growth rate is 1.8% for Springfield. This is compared to 0.6% for the state of Missouri and 1.2% for the United States. Population density of Springfield is 2,068 people per square mile. Comparatively speaking this density is located between the densities of Kansas City (1,397 people per square mile) and St. Louis (6,406 people per square mile). The average family size of Springfield is 2.96 and the approximate percentage of persons in a family is 77.6%. The age-sex pyramid for Springfield MSA has peaks around 15-24 and 35-44 for both males and females.
Overall the chart shows that Springfield has a slow to medium growth pattern.
The population of Springfield is predominantly Caucasian while Asians, African-Americans and Hispanics represent a very small percentage of the population. Of the total workforce of 171,577 in Springfield only 3,305 people are unemployed which is 1.9% of the total workforce. Since 1990, as a general trend, unemployment rate has dropped from about 5.6% to the current level. According to the Missouri Division of Workforce Development in August 2000 the total breakdown of persons employed by sector is as follows:
Number EmployedPercentage of workforce
Transportation & Utilities12,8007.5%
According to the Missouri State Census Data Center, the median household income in 1995-1996 was $31,499 and the BEA Per Capita Income was $25,059.
There are several major employers in the Springfield MSA. These include Bass Pro Shops, The Battlefield Mall, Tracker Boats, Prime Trucking, Cox North Hospital, Cox South Hospital, Saint Johns Hospital, John Q Hammons Enterprises, as well as several government state and county offices. The Springfield school systems are also a major employer of the city. The school system is one of the strongest in Missouri. The largest high school, Kickapoo, has received Gold Star and Blue Ribbon national recognition for outstanding secondary schools.
The three major problems areas in Springfield are alcohol abuse including dunk driving and use by minors, tobacco use, and use of marijuana primarily among adolescents. These three major problems are influenced by many different risk factors.
1.Factors contributing to alcohol abuse: The two main problem areas that have been noted within alcohol abuse are drunk driving, and minors consuming alcoholic beverages. It seems that many people who drink and drive do so as a direct act of defiance for the law. Other possible risk factor for drinking and driving include peer pressure, and lack of overall law enforcement which leads to feelings of security. Minors consuming alcohol is a totally different situation. This use generally stems from lack of parental influence, depression, resistance to authority, lack of law enforcement, and easy access to alcohol.
2.Factors contributing to tobacco use: There are several risk factors that lead to the use of tobacco products. Generally people begin using as a result of peer pressure, observation of role models smoking, lack of parental supervision, high tolerance for deviance, and exposure to advertising.
3.Factors contributing to the use of marijuana: A few of these factors are rebelliousness, nonconformity to family values, resistance to authority, relatively easy access, and an overall lack of anti-drug enforcement.
With these three main problems now established, it is important to see the way that various individuals or groups of individuals throughout the community can help to prevent these problems:
1.Individual: The individual is responsible for making productive decisions that will help to get his or her life back on the right path away from any type of abuse or addiction. Also, the individual must be responsible enough to recognize that there is a problem and ask for help if necessary.
2.Peer Group: It is essential that the peer group provide a supportive network for the individual to overcome his or her problems. It is also the responsibility of the peer group to seek help for the individual when necessary.
3.Parental:The parents play a key role if the individual holding the problem is an adolescent.The parent must be able to listen to and communicate with their child about his or her problems. Also, they must be able to provide necessary discipline as is necessary. Finally, the parent must provide a positive role model for his or her child that discourages negative behavior and reinforces behavior that is positive.
4.School/Teacher: The school is responsible for providing effective drug use prevention programs at an early age. This allows the individual to build a strong set of values regarding drug use and abuse that can be held throughout life.
5.Media: The media is widely regarded for its high influence on increased alcohol and tobacco use. It is therefore the responsibility of the media to erase this reputation. They must deliver messages portraying the negative aspects of drug use to allow people to see the true consequences of drug abuse.
6.Others: If outside members of the community condemn the use and abuse of the drugs listed in the main problem areas some of the appeal towards use of the drug will be eliminated. As will a great deal of peer pressure.
In order to combat the three major problems identified in the Springfield area we have formed a coalition named Community Wide Prevention Program (CWPP). Our mission statement is as follows:
We the people of the CWPP have come together to increase the coordination between government, industry, schools, service providers, and citizens in the city of Springfield. Together we are going to reduce drug and alcohol use among the people of Springfield and to change the social attitudes regarding substance abuse based on measured drug use data.
The people that are part of the CWPP team play an important role and our objectives couldnt be carried out to the fullest extent without their help. The members of the coalition are as follows:
Major Community Business Leader John Q. Hammons
In determining the major problems of Springfield we have discovered many disturbing statistics. The main purpose of our plan is to change these statistics. However, to fully understand our plan we will present you with the detailed problems that we have seen within the community of Springfield within each of our three major problem areas.
1.The abuse of alcohol is a major concern for any community because it has ties with a number of other social concerns. Alcohol use is a factor in about half of all deaths from motor vehicle crashes, homicides, and suicides. Alcohol abuse is also often linked to spousal abuse and other family violence issues. Alcohol is also a significant contributor to dysfunctional families school dropout and lost economic productivity. One thing that makes alcohol abuse, as well as underage drinking so prevalent is the fact that alcohol is considered a socially approved narcotic. Although DWI and teen DWI rates for Springfield are actually lower than state and national average levels, they are still a major point of concern. In a recent survey, 3% of the population reports having driven at least once in the past 30 days after consuming too much alcohol. This is quite disturbing considering the fact that they were fully aware of their actions. In a 1997 survey in Greene County it was determined that 51% of high school seniors have consumed more than one alcoholic beverage in the past two weeks. 37% of seniors reported binge drinking, which is more than four or five drinks. These numbers are particularly disturbing because everyone in high school is below the legal drinking age. This forces us to answer the questions, where do these kids get the alcohol they are consuming and how can we stop the consumption.
2.Tobacco use is also a significant concern in the Springfield area. At a time when smoking among adults is decreasing in popularity, it is increasing among adolescents and teenagers. Every day, an estimated 3,000 teenagers begin smoking. According to the Surgeon General, in the lifetimes of those 3,000 teens, 60 will die in traffic accidents, 30 will be murdered, and 750 will die from smoking related diseases. Nearly 85 percent of all smokers say they started smoking before age 18. Studies show that the younger a person starts smoking, the more likely they are to become addicted and continue the use of nicotine. Some prevention specialists see cigarette smoking as a gateway drug, a substance that leads to the use of other drugs. This is because smoking is seen by many adolescents as an act of defiance of authority and often takes place in groups where other acts of defiance take place. In the Springfield area alone 21% of people surveyed said that they smoke cigarettes and nearly half of all high school seniors have tried smoking. This is disturbing due to the fact that 434,000 Americans, including 10,000 from Missouri, die each year from smoking-related cancers, heart disease, and respiratory diseases.
3.Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the United States. In 1996 50% of all high school students reported using marijuana at least once. This is a 3% increase over a one-year period. In the Springfield area the increase is greater. Use increased 10% over a recent two-year period. This is obviously far greater than the national average and is a source of concern. Any use of marijuana is disturbing simply due to the fact that it is illegal. In addition, it has been proven to cause cancers, to prevent the development of male sexual characteristics in adolescent boys, and cause burn out (user appears to be dull and slow).
The main goals of our plan are as follows:
Goal: Significantly reduce use among minors as well as drunk driving.
Objective: Reduce each by 20% over a five-year period.
With cooperation of D.A.R.E. officials and schools we will institute alcohol abuse awareness programs such as mock drunk driving accidents, D.A.R.E. counseling, and speakers promoting appropriate use of alcohol. All of this will take place during regular school hours beginning at the elementary schools and continuing throughout high school. Contents of the programs will be age based. With cooperation of local liquor patrol we will impose an aggressive campaign towards reducing the sale of alcohol to minors. This will be accomplished by liquor patrol agents posing as gas station and grocery store attendants. This will also effectively increase adult awareness of the problem. Finally, also with cooperation of the police, we will set up DWI checkpoint on random major streets every Thursday through Saturday evenings. This should effectively reduce the amount of drunk drivers on city streets.
Goal: Significantly reduce tobacco use among people that are younger than 18.
Objective: To reduce tobacco use by 35% over five years.
Together with local businesses and the mayor we are going to post aggressive anti-tobacco advertisements. The advertisements will be graphic and show what tobacco use can do to your lungs, throat, and/or mouth. This will be done to show people what can really happen to your body if you choose to use tobacco. With cooperation of the local school districts we will impose anti-tobacco programs in junior high and high schools. This will be a mandatory program that will take place once in the fall and once in the spring. By doing this we will be able to see progress from each semester to the next. Finally, with cooperation of local businesses and local government we will impose a no smoking law in public places and a no smoke break law for underage users. This will prevent underage users from being able to smoke in certain places. By taking away smoking privileges people will be forced to cut back on their tobacco habits.
Goal: To reduce use and distribution of marijuana throughout the population.
Objective: To reduce marijuana use and distribution by 50% over five years.
Together with the schools and local D.A.R.E. officials we will put more of an emphasis on the use of marijuana than other drugs to be discussed. This is due to the fact that marijuana is usually the first drug that new users prefer. With the cooperation of the police and local government we will impose stronger consequences on marijuana distributors and other users. These consequences will include longer jails terms for major distributors as well as higher fines and more drug abuse prevention programs. Together with local businesses we will create an anti-marijuana advertising campaign. These will be signs posted around the city and even bigger billboards along the highway. Also, we will run an ad campaign on local radio and television stations.
In January of each year we will receive $100,000 for a total of $500,000 over the next five years. This money will be received by a combination of government grants and support of local business owners. The project will begin in January 2001. The coalition will immediately begin its advertising campaign as well as weekend DWI checkpoints. Also, the liquor patrol will begin posing as gas station and grocery store workers. Funding for these will be divided as necessary between current local advertising rates and current police pay rates. Beginning in August of 2001, we will implement school education programs in the elementary and secondary levels of education. These will take place with the cooperation of school officials, local D.A.R.E. officials, and with outside speakers. The funding allotment for this program will be evaluated quarterly throughout the five year period in order to ensure proper funding for each aspect of the entire program. Projections for exact funding of specific portions of the plan will be determined as each plan is implemented and re-evaluated.
*Receive funding*Implement all programs except school based programs*Evaluate funds allotment*Continue programs*Continue programs
*Evaluate funds allotment*Continue programs*Continue programs*Continue programs*Implement school based programs
*Evaluate funds allotment*Continue programs*Continue programs*Continue programs*Year end progress evaluation
*There will be monthly CWPP meetings to determine progress and examine funding.
*Years 2-5 will carry out the already established programs.
As of September 2001 the overall results of the program have been quite positive. Community awareness has grown and adult recognition of the problems has increased greatly. We may need to implement more active police support in the reduction of marijuana distribution in the city. This is due to the increase of the amount of the drug being locally grown. School programs, although young, have been widely accepted by parents. Students also seem to see the necessity of these programs. Funding projections are on line due largely to active support of local business owners. Within the next fiscal year we may be able to implement more in depth plans primarily in the region of reducing alcohol sales to minors with further increased participation of local liquor patrol officials.