As part of the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis, Community Health Outreach Programs is implementing a variety of approaches to prevent use, abuse, and accidental harm associated with opioid medication. The focus is currently on:
- Secure Medication in the home- products and practices designed to monitor and lock up medications.
- StartTalkingNow.org to help parents start conversations with kids about medications and substance use prevention.
- Medication Return- education and services to help people properly dispose of unwanted or expired medications properly. This includes the distribution of DEA approved mail-in envelopes and working to establish a medicine return box in East Skagit County.
- Pax Good Behavior Game to help kids develop self-regulation in the school environment.
- Strengthening Families Program: For parents and youth aged 10-14 to help set limits with youth and build healthy family bonds.
These programs work across multiple levels to keep our communities strong and well educated on substance use prevention, all a part of the services provided by United District 304.
Marijuana Prevention is funded through tax dollars associated with the sale of recreational marijuana. Currently, United General District 304 Community Health Outreach Programs is providing the following programs and strategies:
- Positive Action curriculum in the Skagit Boys and Girls Club of Sedro-Woolley
- The Incredible Years parenting program in collaboration with SPARC.
- Regional prevention strategies focused on media campaigns such as Under the Influence…of You, youth empowerment and leadership activities, and marijuana retailer education (to help prevent the sale of products to those under age 21 and follow laws regarding signage and advertising).
These programs build the knowledge, skills, and self-determination to help keep youth and families resilient and substance free, all a part of the services provided United District 304.
Traffic Safety – Underage Drinking Prevention Program
This new project has 3 parts:
- Establish a system that allows Law Enforcement in Skagit County the ability to cite minors who are caught using alcohol, tobacco, or marijuana an “Education Citation” instead of a Minor In Possession (MIP) misdemeanor. The Education Citation connects them to their local school counselor who teaches 3 hours evidenced-based curriculum on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (ATOD).
- Conduct emphasis patrols (Party Intervention Patrols or PIPs) to increase the perception of getting caught for using alcohol
- Conduct a social norms campaign around alcohol use
A brief recent example of the program in action: There have been 7 minors who have been cited with an “Education Citation” who completed their classes with a local Chemical Dependency Professional in Skagit County since the program launched early this year.
This program aims to reduce underage alcohol use in Skagit County. It also is creating a system change that treats substance use as a public health problem as opposed to a criminal problem.