Since 2012, the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition has sought to unite citizens and stakeholders to prevent youth substance use and misuse though effective prevention strategies.
“Our vision is to see empowered youth living healthy and drug-free lives” said Jodi Salvo, the director of substance use prevention services at OhioGuidestone and coordinator of the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.
To help empower those youth, the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition conducts an annual Parents Who Host Lose The Most campaign to prevent social hosting and underage drinking. Jodi said the annual campaign has four goals:
- Raise awareness about the legality of social hosting for parents and underage drinking for youth
- Educate parents about the issues and impacts of underage drinking
- Build capacity in the coalition
- Change community norms around alcohol
The alcohol committee of the coalition starts planning the campaign in February with the goal of implementing it each April—just ahead of prom and graduation, those key celebratory times when teens are more likely to engage in underage drinking.
“We localize press releases, letters to the editor, paid newspaper ads, social media ads and messages, radio PSAs, proclamations, yard signs placed throughout the county, place banners at each school district and in community downtowns. We have developed bottle hangers that include the logo and legality of social hosting that are placed on six packs in retail establishments,” Jodi said. “The toolkit and resources from Prevention Action Alliance work well to accomplish our goals of creating awareness and educating our community especially during prom and graduation season.”
The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition also takes advantage of the option to customize their campaign by having their logo placed on campaign materials to increase the visibility of their coalition while they’re preventing underage drinking. They’ve also recently been able to engage the faith-based and business sector by getting their assistance in placing yard signs in Tuscarawas County and promoting the campaign.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the coalition’s 2020 campaign had to be canceled.
“We wish we were able to implement this campaign,” said Jodi. “We had a well planned and developed campaign. We greatly grew our campaign potential by partnering with three large businesses and three ministerial associations in our county. These new partners would have assisted us in placing an additional 500 yard signs throughout the county.”
“However, this campaign effort did assist the coalition in building capacity,” Jodi said. “We now have new partners on this effort from the faith-based and business sectors. They now have an increased understanding of this issue, how they can be part of the solution to prevent youth alcohol use, and how they can partner with the coalition.”
And those efforts have worked, according to Jodi.
“We have seen a reduction of youth alcohol use on most recent YRBS,” said Jodi. “The coalition has also gained capacity and is a well respected and supported organization in the community.”
About the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition
The Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition is a Drug-Free Communities grantee with representatives from all 12 sectors of the community, as defined by the DFC program. It consists of seven standing committees, including alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, faith-based, youth advisory board, and media as well as ad hoc committees. OhioGuidestone is the coalition’s fiscal agent.