Press Release
South Suburban Task Force Unveils Report
Recommendations Include Coalition to Address and Help Prevent Underage Use

Dayton, OH, October 25, 2007 - The South Suburban Teen Drug and Alcohol Task Force today unveiled a report outlining findings from an extensive study, along with recommended strategies and solutions, to address and help prevent teen alcohol and drug use in Dayton area south suburbs. According to the report, the problem is not unique to any one community but rather crosses geographical boundaries, and potential solutions require cooperation and collaboration across multiple communities and systems.

School and government leaders in seven communities formed the South Suburban Teen Drug and Alcohol Task Force in response to citizen concern over widespread use and accessibility of alcohol and drugs among youth in their communities. Over the next five weeks, the report will be presented to members of school boards, city councils and township trustees in each of the communities represented.

The Task Force has met monthly since January of this year to: assess the scope of the problem of teen alcohol and drug use; identify major contributing factors; research best practices and successes in other communities; and seek community-wide solutions and actions. Task Force members got input from a leading expert from the Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research at Wright State University's Boonshoft School of Medicine, as well as local school counselors and resource officers, law enforcement and court professionals, and members of regional successful community coalitions. In addition, several successful anti-drug collaborative initiatives in Ohio and other states were identified and interviewed to gather information on best practices, evidence-based strategies and available resources.

The Task Force will seek support from elected community leaders to form a South Suburban Teen Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Coalition to address and help prevent underage use of and access to alcohol and other drugs among the south Dayton suburban communities. The Coalition would be charged with focusing on five key target areas:
  • Use and accessibility
  • Education and prevention
  • Community involvement and expectations
  • Accountability and enforcement
  • Healthy alternatives
While the Coalition is being formed, organizers hope to garner official support to collaborate among Task Force member organizations and communities on a targeted list of short-term activities.

On behalf of the Task Force, the report states: "Eliminating alcohol and other drug use among youth involves many sectors of the community, and it takes a strategic, collective effort to support young people in making healthy, drug-free decisions. Each one of us, whether we are a parent, teacher, police officers, city official, coach, business executive, faith community leader, lawyer or doctor has a role to play in making our communities drug and alcohol free for our youth. We are the role models for our youth - they are our future."

Communities participating on the Task Force include: Centerville, Kettering, Miami Township, Miamisburg, Moraine, Oakwood, and Washington Township. Administrative support was provided to the Task Force from Unified Health Solutions and United Way of the Greater Dayton Area. Each participating community had representatives from law enforcement, city and township governments, and schools. In addition, municipal and county courts and Archbishop Alter High School were represented on the Task Force.

For more information or to get involved, contact Marc Levy, President and CEO of United Way of the Greater Dayton Area at (937) 225-3014.
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