Can a community coalition help create a safer environment for young people, helping teens make drug free choices? Four employees of the City of Fayetteville think so. They joined forces with “Drug Free Fayette”, a community coalition made up of 33 community leaders, public servants and volunteers who help decrease alcohol and marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse, by Fayette County teenagers.
“Illicit drug use is a global problem, and Fayetteville is not immune,” said City Manager Ray Gibson. “The City of Fayetteville, especially through our Police Department, has always worked to curb the use of dangerous drugs. Partnering with Drug Free Fayette makes sense in furthering our mission to protect the health, safety and welfare of our residents.”
Joining Gibson on Drug Free Fayette is City Councilwoman Kathaleen Brewer, Police Detective Joshua Meade, and School Resource Officer Scott Israel. DFF is one of dozens of community coalitions in Georgia – and hundreds of coalitions across the United States – that believe that community people working together can help reduce teenage drugs and alcohol useage. DFF does this from a prevention standpoint, doing things like:
• Creating awareness of the harms of drugs and alcohol on teenage brain development. DFF shares messages that the young brain isn’t fully developed until about 25 years old, and that drugs and alcohol can change and hamper brain development.
• Helping teens (and their parents) think about the legal, academic, and financial consequences of drug use, such as when colleges won’t admit teens, or retract scholarships they had already provided, or when employers won’t hire due to negative drug screens.
• Supporting more and stronger conversations between parents and their teenagers about positive choices. Check out http://www.drugfreefayette.org/conversations.html to read more.
• Creating youth-oriented drug free events and programs. These include AVPRIDE’s “FYLP” youth leadership program, Drug Free Fayette’s Youth Committee, logo design contests, and more.
• Changing policies and laws in Fayette County that support drug free environments. An example of this are the social host ordinances passed by Fayetteville, Fayette County and the other Fayette municipalities, which make it against the law for parents to host teenage drinking parties, whether or not the parent actually provided the alcohol.
“I personally enjoy interacting with other Drug Free Fayette members, because there’s a camaraderie in this effort to encourage drug-free lifestyles,” Gibson said. “It’s also helpful to gain insights from other sectors in the community.”
Drug Free Fayette is a joint program of two local nonprofits, Fayette FACTOR, and AVPRIDE. You can read more about DFF at www.DrugFreeFayette.org, or by visiting DFF’s Facebook page, or by sending an email to DrugFreeFayette@gmail.com.