A drug and alcohol prevention group will launch their 2018-19 campaign at the Newton High School sports Festival Aug. 24.

The Healthy Harvey Drug-Free Communities Coalition will launch the "It Matters" campaign with leaflets and materials in both English and Spanish. 

The coalition has been hard at work planning drug and alcohol prevention efforts for our community since its establishment in August 2017. Through input from its coalition members from all sectors of Harvey County, a plan has taken shape. In July, the coalition received an implementation grant to begin bringing that plan to fruition.

The overall goal of the coalition is to reduce drinking and drug use statistics, starting with the reasons that it is happening in the first place. The plan is to reduce certain risk factors found in the community that lead to the use of substances. One of those risk factors on the radar is the perceived availability of alcohol by youth in Harvey County. In 2017, 18.42 percent of youth in Harvey County reported that it would be very easy to get beer, wine or hard liquor if they wanted some.

According to a survey done by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 30 percent of underage drinkers reported drinking in their own home, while 53.4 percent said they drank at a friend’s house, meaning that most underage drinking is happening inside the family home. This perception of availability and low perception of harm is what the coalition hopes to reduce by the It Matters campaign.

It Matters is a marketing campaign focused on educating parents on dangers and outcomes of allowing their kids to drink. The coalition also chose specific ads to target the youth. The objective is to see a continuous decline in the percentage of youth reporting that it would be very easy to obtain alcohol. The goal of each person on the coalition is to reduce substance abuse and to keep kids safe.

For more information on the Healthy Harvey Drug Free Communities Coalition or on how to get involved, please reach out to the Coalition Coordinator, Benjamin Meier, at bmeier@mirrorinc.org.