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By Max Erikson
Reporter 

Coalition makes progress on substance abuse

 

February 7, 2018



Klickitat and Lyle Against Substance Abuse Coalition (KLASAC) continues to make progress in its mission to reduce teen substance abuse with the help of teen volunteers and the community as a whole.

KLASAC was formed in October of 2013 to address the high rates of alcohol and marijuana use among teens by combining the towns and schools of Klickitat and Lyle in an effort to prevent and reduce teen substance abuse. KLASAC formed Teens Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse (TADAA) as a youth coalition of student representatives who give support and information to peers, and plan school based activities geared towards substance abuse education and prevention.

The teen volunteers can attend a Prevention Summit Youth Leadership Conference to learn more about substance abuse, suicide prevention—and other topics that are important to teens—and use that training to effectively communicate the message of support and prevention. Teens become advisors and take an active role in the prevention and encouragement of their peers.

“Our kids get that information and bring it back to use in the community,” KLASAC secretary Sheila Crapper says. “It real helps the kids know how to communicate and get the word out to their peers about the dangers of alcohol and marijuana use.”

KLASAC has partnered with the Klickitat and Lyle schools to provide training and materials for their Positive Action Program that teachers implement—together with their students—to better educate teens on substance abuse. The Positive Action Program is an evidenced based program to reduce substance abuse and promote mental health. It focuses on promoting messages about feeling good about yourself.

“This program helps teens understand that how they think and how they feel, ultimately effects how they behave,” Crapper says.

KLASAC has received strong community support from law enforcement, the county health department, the faith base community, and local businesses to name a few. According to Rita Pinchot, a local mental health first aid trainer and prevention coalition coordinator, KLASAC recorded 700 hours of volunteer time from the community last year and is slowly seeing the effect it is having on the reduction of underage drinking.

“We are still in the early stages of our program but we have already seen a small reduction in underage drinking,” Pinchot says. “We are really happy over the last four years how people have been so willing to step up and get involved. We would like to see even more community involvement and youth involvement to continue to build this coalition and continue to get the word out.”

To learn more about KLASAC and how to become a volunteer, call (509) 316-9523, email at klasaccoalition@gmail.com, or visit the website at klasac.org.

 

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