Greetings from the Sabine Prevention Alliance, a volunteer coalition whose vision is to be part of a parish-wide community that empowers children and youth to avoid alcohol use and reach their full potential through education, resources, and support. Using the Communities that Care Youth Survey (CCYS) administered in Louisiana schools every other year, the SPA identified four risk factors that will guide our work through the FY 21-22 year. Risk factors are based on Sabine Parish 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th student responses on the CCYS 2018 Caring Communities Youth Survey, the 2021 Adult Community Survey and the 2021 Louisiana Highway Safety Data.
1.Youth think that they will not get caught by police for drinking and driving. (45.2% of students said that they did not think that they would get caught, which is 8.3% higher than the State rate. Sabine also had a 350% increase in alcohol related crashes from 2019 to 2020, Highway Safety Data)
2.Youth report obtaining alcohol from home with parent permission. (This represents a 22.1% increase from 2016 to 2018 CCYS data. In the 2021 Adult Community Survey of Sabine Parish Communities, 51% of adults surveyed reported drinking alcohol around children under 21 all or some of the time)
3.Youth report obtaining alcohol from a non-parent relative. (2018 data represents a 28.5% increase from 2016 CCYS data, 3.4% higher than the state level)
4.Youth report binge drinking in the past 30 days. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks at one time within the past 30 days. (15.4% of 6th 8th 10th and 12th grade Sabine students combined reported binge drinking, a 4.4% higher rate than the state’s rate of 11%. The 2021 Adult Community Survey reported that 92% of adult respondents said that underage binge drinking is viewed as a problem in Sabine)
The 2020 CCYS data has not been released yet however, based on national and local trends, underage drinking rates are likely to increase due to the impact of Covid-19 restrictions resulting in social isolation, boredom and youth being out of school with less supervision.
The activities of the Sabine Prevention alliance this fiscal year will focus on providing evidence-based strategies targeting the four risk factors described above. Some of the strategies planned for this fiscal year include:
1.A multi-media campaign to disseminate information about the legal, health and physical health consequences of underage drinking to parents and youth through live events, newspaper articles, radio PSAs, billboards and messaging on Facebook, Instagram and sabineprevents.com
2.Responsible Vendor/Server Training provided for businesses selling tobacco and alcohol products free of charge to participating employees again this year.
3.Workshops for high school students facilitated by the LACT facilitator, Janet Defata will be available to schools.
4.An increase in Sobriety Checkpoints and Party Patrols by parish and local law enforcement agencies during high-risk times such as holidays, prom night and graduation will be funded through the PFS II grant.
5.Creation of ‘Safe Zones” for children and youth around recreational areas will be developed in the Many area.
6.A repeat of the ‘Communities Talk’ town hall meetings to address underage drinking and other high-risk behaviors will be presented in two locations within the Parish. Youth groups and Faith-Partners congregations will be asked to participate.
7.Implementation of the Prevention Pluss Wellness (Sport) program that teaches children and youth to identify wellness behaviors that if practiced, will reduce the likelihood of underage drinking.
8.Continued building the capacity of the Sabine Prevention Alliance by increasing membership within the coalition.
9.Continuation of the Faith-Partners Ministry Initiative which provides training and support to local congregational teams who provide information, support and referral to services for any congregational members who may be struggling with or have family members struggling with any form of addiction. Sabine now has five congregations participating in the Faith-Partners Initiative.
10.SPA’s continued participation with the Sabine Children and Youth Planning Board which is committed to developing a full continuum of care for children, youth, and families within the Parish. The C&YPB meets at noon on the fourth Wednesday of the month in the Sabine Parish Courthouse Police Jury room. This is an open meeting.
WHATS IN THIS FOR ME? We all play a role in helping keep our children and youth safe, sober and successful. If you or your organization would like to help with this work, please contact the SPA at 318-315-0081 or 318-602-9206 or go to www.sabineprevents.com, Facebook / Sabine Prevention Alliance or email us at SPAWagley@gmail.com
According to research, families in difficulty with addiction issues often turn to their clergy or their family doctor. This will come to no surprise to most clergy. In fact, a study by Columbia University notes that 94% of clergy consider alcohol and other drug abuse along with behavioral addiction to be important issues that they confront. At the same time, only 12% of American clergy report that they have any formal preparation in dealing with addiction disease.
What is surprising to most clergy is the prevalence of this disease within the congregation. Over 10 % of Americans are afflicted with chemical addiction at some point in their lives. One in four families is affected by the disease in some way. No segment of society and certainly no place of worship and healing escapes this certainty. Fortunately, there is another unexpected prevalence; the existence throughout society, and in congregations, of people who have survived their addiction experience and those who are professional or otherwise engaged with prevention and recovery practices.
It is with these individuals who have experienced healing that hope springs for effective education, help for families, congregations, and communities. Faith Partner Teams are built on the premise that people helping people are both blessed and a blessing to others. Clergy who have long addressed addiction issues have found the team approach effective and powerful, both in helping those affected and in building prevention efforts. “Lighting the Path: Clergy Leadership in a Faith Partners Team Ministry”, Faith-Partners.org.
The Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) has now been active for over a year. SPA is a volunteer coalition of youth and adult citizens actively engaged in increasing awareness of underage drinking in Sabine Parish. Three committees, Policy/ Law, Health/Education and Multi-Media drive the work of SPA in delivering the prevention message and coordinating efforts across community sectors to prevent and reduce underage drinking in Sabine Parish. Early in 2020 the alliance engaged the assistance of Faith-Partners Inc. under the direction of Mr. Drew Brooks, CEO to bring the Faith Partners model to Sabine Parish by offering a series of training, development, and technical assistance to at least ten local congregations. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the strategy had to be modified from face-to face to virtual training formats. So far this year SPA has engaged five denominations and seven congregations in the Faith-Partners Ministry training and development process.
Phase one, “Readiness Training” was accomplished via Zoom in April and phase two, “Leadership Training” was held locally in person in June, while following all health and safety precautions recommended by the State of Louisiana. Seven congregations with clergy or prospective ministry team members from five different denominations were in attendance for a full day of orientation and training in the Faith-Partners model.
Phase three entails conducting a congregational survey and identifying lay members of the ministry teams to return in the fall to participate in a “ Skills Training” event for implementation of the three key elements of the ministry which are Awareness: helping the congregation become more aware of the problem, see the need for prevention through alternative activities, and finding the resources for help; Education: through personal contact, existing classes and church organizations provide evidence-based information on the nature of addiction as a treatable disease with spiritual consequences rather than a “lack of willpower”, and how addiction has genetic implications effecting everyone in the family; and Support: in a non-judgmental manner team members share experience, strength and hope while helping others find and connect with appropriate resources withing the congregation and in the community.Phase three training will be held in the fall and there is still time to have your congregation involved in this inspired training. If you are in the Clergy, a toolkit and phone consultation will be made available to you to assist in planning. If you are a member of a congregation with a desire to be of service to others, please discuss this article with your church leaders. If your church wants to be part of this transformative process, contact the Sabine Prevention Alliance at 259 Fisher Rd., Many, La, 318-315-0081 SPAWagley@gmail.com Facebook / sabine prevention alliance, www.sabineprevents.com. , or call James Wagley at 318-602-9206.
Car crashes—the #1 killer of teens—take about 3,000 young lives every year. As a parent, you should know that the main cause of teen crashes is driver inexperience. All new drivers—even high academic achievers and “good kids”—are more likely than experienced drivers to be involved in a fatal crash. It’s a fact.
Teen drivers are three times more likely than more experienced drivers to be in a fatal crash. Drinking any alcohol greatly increases this risk for teens.
Take the first step: talk with your teen about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and about staying safe behind the wheel. Then, keep the conversation going. For more information and tips on how to talk with your kids about drugs and alcohol visit our www.sabineprevents.com
(Source: CDC, NHTSA)
We are all being inundated with multi-media information to increase our awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic, from lists of symptoms to what we can do to help prevent the spread of this dangerous disease. If we have flu-like symptoms we should avoid being around other people. This especially applies to our more vulnerable citizens who are older and who also have complicating chronic health conditions such as respiratory problems, diabetes, and hypertension. Our epidemiologists are warning us daily how to be aware of the symptoms, call before going to our PCP, and to socially distance ourselves, so we do not contribute to the spread of this pandemic.
By the same token we in Sabine are experiencing the spread of underage drinking and misuse of substances that lead to very serious consequences for our children, youth and families. Short-term effects of alcohol use and misuse include symptoms such as such as dizziness, mood swings, violent behavior, lack of coordination, impaired motor skills, impaired judgment, nausea/vomiting. Damage to short term memory can lead to more long term problems such as sexual violence, accidents, injury to self and others, poor academic achievement and disruption of family relationships. Even longer-term effects and consequences include alcohol dependence and addiction, depression, increased risk of cancer, disruption of normal brain development. Social problems include trouble getting along with parents, teachers, authority figures and peers, problems getting and keeping a job. In the worst case scenario, liver damage from alcohol abuse and addiction can lead to death.
The Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) will be one year old next month in April. Our mission is to help keep children and youth safe, sober and successful by increasing awareness of the prevalence of underage drinking, its negative consequences and what communities working together can do to prevent and reduce underage drinking as well as with other high-risk behaviors. Much like the COVID-19 pandemic we are using a public health, environmental strategy approach only with one difference. We do not want to use social distancing with our children and youth. Parents, teachers, community leaders, law enforcement, health care agencies, business and Faith-Based organizations need to pull our kids close, show them love, positive role modeling, non-judgmental attitudes, effective supervision and positive alternatives to destructive decisions. Offer them opportunities to participate, learn skills, be leaders and help their friends as well as those less fortunate. Families, churches, schools and community organizations all can play a vital role in encircling rather than distancing from our children and youth.
The big ask for March is to get involved in your family, a church, your kid’s school, in community events and in coalitions within the Parish that are working toward healthy community norms and expectations. Some say that the youth are our future leaders. I’m thinking they are today’s leaders and it is up to us in what direction they will lead.
For more information on how you can get involved go to Facebook / Sabine Prevention Alliance, www.sabineprevents.com, email SPAWagley@gmail.com or come by 259 Fisher Rd. for a visit to learn more about SPA and ask your clergy if they are or want to be involved in the Faith-Partners project.
Citizens, churches, organizations, businesses and agencies who want to start a conversation about how we as a Parish will prevent and reduce underage drinking are welcome to give voice to their suggestions, concerns and positive alternatives.
During Alcohol Awareness Month, the nation takes note of the progress in reducing rates of underage drinking and celebrate the efforts of communities across the country who are working together to prevent underage alcohol use.
According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), we as a nation have seen a decrease over the past 15 years in the percentage of 12- to 20-year-olds who report any lifetime alcohol use: 56.2 percent in 2002 down to 41.0 percent in 2017.
However, Sabine Parish has a long way to go in this area. The 2018 Caring Communities Youth Survey (CCYS) data reveals that Sabine Parish students reported the following for lifetime alcohol use: 6th grade 22.6%, 8th grade 48.8%, 10th grade 55.2% and 12th grade 53.8 %. For drinking in the past 30 days, 6th grade reported 9.2%, 8th grade 21.5%, 10th grade 37% and 12th 18%. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks at one sitting. Sabine 6th graders reported binge drinking at 5.4%, 8th graders 16.1 %, 10th graders 26.1% and Seniors at 18.4%.
The Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) a community led coalition is working toward increasing awareness of our underage drinking problem through meetings at schools, churches, agencies, with parents and youth to arm them our citizens with the facts and engage leaders in developing effective strategies to prevent and reduce this problem. In the past month, SPA Members visited five schools, three churches, and the Sabine Parish Fair Day to provide evidence-based information to students, parents and teachers. Over 250 parents were engaged and many requested more information or how to volunteer. The SPA plans to visit every school in the parish to assist in increasing awareness about underage drinking and other risk factors. One of the SPA’s evidence-based strategies is the SAMHSA Communities Talk town hall meeting.
SAMHSA’s initiative, Communities Talk: Town Hall Meetings to Prevent Underage Drinking began in 2006 with the goal of bringing together stakeholders ranging from parents to law enforcement and educators to elected officials–anyone with an interest in preventing underage alcohol use and high-risk drinking among young adults. Nearly 10,000 Communities Talk events have taken place since then, starting important conversations around strategies and approaches for prevention efforts, and they’re making a difference. After the 2016 Communities Talk cycle, 84 percent of participants said they gained new knowledge about underage drinking, and 94 percent planned to share materials or lessons learned with others. A critically important audience for Communities Talk events are parents, whose awareness of the prevalence and risks of underage drinking is essential to continuing the success of these efforts.
What’s In this for You?
As SPA Members visited with people in our communities, we found that most folks had no idea of the prevalence of underage drinking nor did they know of current prevention efforts other than possibly the Dare Program in schools. Almost all the people we visited were disturbed by the numbers, showed a deep concern for our children and youth and wanted to know what they could do to help. Here are a few things we all can do to help prevent and reduce underage drinking in Sabine Parish:
The Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) is a coalition of community members representing various sectors within Sabine Parish. SPA has been busy meeting and working with interested parents, schools, health, business, and enforcement leaders who are moving the work of the alliance forward. Our goal is to help keep our children and youth safe, sober and successful. So far this month we have met with Negreet, Florien, Converse and Zwolle school staff to introduce the Communities Talk Event and to identify existing events, clubs and organizations who may want to join us in this community effort.
We are now in the planning stages for the “Communities Talk” town hall meetings to be hosted in each of our parish schools. Local town hall meetings designed to increase awareness of the prevalence of underage drinking, identify proven strategies that will prevent and reduce some of the root causes and local conditions related to underage drinking and unify our communities in their efforts to take action.
During the month of September, the SPA developed and improved its action plan, formed committees and assigned members as voices for their respective communities. The coalition staff has increased with the addition of Tomiko Ladkin in the role of Community Liaison. Tomiko schedules and attends events, collects evaluation data, manages our social media outlets and helps develop educational materials for kids and families. SPA members and staff have scheduled the following events booked for the next two months:
September 22nd, St. John’s Youth Listening Group @ 4:30pm
September 26th, Negreet, Zwolle, and Converse Parent/Teacher Days @ 9a-10p
September 27th Sabine Parish Fair Day Information Booth @ 9a-10p
October 7th Florien High School Carnival 5p-8p
October 11th & 12th, The Zwolle Tamale Fiesta Information Booth 9a-6p
October 23rd-31st Red Ribbon Events at various Schools in conjunction with S.A.D.D. Clubs
October 25th Converse High School, The 5th Quarter event.
November 2nd Florien Free-state Festival Information Booth, 10am-10pm
The SPA will continue with its first objective, which is increasing awareness through community events. We will know if we are making progress through community feedback, sector data and bi-annual CCYS data. This is the work of the SPA.
A Call to Action
What’s in it for YOU? We need youth, families and community members to come join the work. As I have gone out into our communities, I have met so many people who are willing and able to get involved in sending this prevention message by word and action. By becoming involved in this work, my motivation and enthusiasm for positive change has increased significantly. When one gets involved in meaningful community prevention work, one feels better about self and others. You will also sleep better knowing that we are doing something to help all of our kids. “When you are in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of your Lord.”
What can you do to help?
James Wagley, SPA Coalition Coordinator
Summer is a wonderful time for outdoor activities with family and friends. For many people, a day at the beach, on the boat, or at a backyard barbecue will include drinking alcoholic beverages. But excessive drinking and summer activities don’t mix. Drinking impairs both physical and mental abilities, and it also decreases inhibitions—which can lead to tragic consequences on the water, on the road, and in the great outdoors. In fact, research shows that up to 70 percent of all water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve the use of alcohol.
Swimmers can get in over their heads. Alcohol impairs judgment and increases risk taking, a dangerous combination for swimmers. Even experienced swimmers may venture out farther than they should and not be able to make it back to shore, or they may not notice how chilled they’re getting and develop hypothermia. Surfers could become over-confident and try to ride a wave beyond their abilities. Even around a pool, too much alcohol can have deadly consequences. Inebriated divers may collide with the diving board, or dive where the water is too shallow.
Boaters can lose their bearings. According to research funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol may be involved in 60 percent of boating fatalities, including falling overboard. And a boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.1 percent (approximately 4 to 5 drinks) is 16 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than an operator with zero BAC. According to the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision, and reaction time. It can also increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. And if problems arise, intoxicated boaters are ill equipped to find solutions. For passengers, intoxication can lead to slips on deck, falls overboard, or accidents at the dock.
Drivers can go off course. The summer holidays are some of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. When on vacation, drivers may be traveling an unfamiliar route or hauling a boat or camper, with the distraction of pets and children in the car. Adding alcohol to the mix puts the lives of the driver and everyone in the car, as well as other people on the road, at risk.
Stay hydrated and stay healthy. Whether you’re on the road or in the great outdoors, heat plus alcohol can equal trouble. Hot summer days cause fluid loss through perspiration, while alcohol causes fluid loss through increased urination. Together, they can quickly lead to dehydration or heat stroke. But this doesn’t have to happen. At parties, make at least every other drink a nonalcoholic one. If you’re the host, be sure to provide plenty of cold, refreshing nonalcoholic drinks to keep your guests well hydrated. Make sure that underage drinkers do not make it on to your guest list.
Summer will end, but consequences can endure. You can have fun in the sun and still be safe. Avoiding beverages that cause mental and physical impairment while piloting a boat, driving a car, exploring the wilderness, and swimming or surfing is a good place to start. Be smart this summer—think before you drink, and make sure that you and your loved ones will be around to enjoy many summers to come.
For more information on how to encourage drug-free behaviors and guide good choices, visit our website at www.sabineprevents.com. (Source: NIH)
Hello, and welcome to the Sabine Prevention Alliance (SPA) website blog. Each month we will be sharing data driven information about local and national trends related to our target concern which is underage drinking in Sabine Parish. Sabine was selected this year to receive support to develop prevention efforts to keep out children and youth safe, sober and successful.
The Alliance is comprised of a group of concerned citizens, coming from various communities and sectors in our parish such as the school system, health care, law enforcement, business, faith-based and community organizations, parents and youth. We are new, don’t have all the answers but lots of questions and we need your help.
The Mission of the SPA is to plan and implement strategies that prevent and reduce underage drinking and its consequences, targeting children and youth ages 9 to 20 through community and parish-wide prevention efforts. SPA’s Vision is to become a community that empowers children and youth to reach their full potential through education, coordination of resources and support. You have found our website and I invite you to look around.
There are three different blog posts on this site; one for Community Partners, one for Parents and one for Children and Youth. Feel free to join us in a conversation about your concerns, experience, strength and hope for the future as we get to know each other better on-line and in the flesh. Thank for your interest, care and concern for our children and youth. If you would like to take part in this work, contact SPA by email; SPAWagley@gmail.com, go to our Facebook/sabinepreventionalliance , Instagram sabine prevention alliance or call 318-315-0081. James Wagley, SPA Coalition Coordinator 8/7/19