Enhancing Community Capacity for Preventing Prescription Drug Misuse
Continuing ICR’s work with substance abuse prevention in West Hartford that began in 2010, we are partnering with the West Hartford Substance Abuse Prevention Commission (WHSAPC) and other town stakeholders to develop a community needs assessment and strategic plan to reduce prescription drug misuse among West Hartford youth and young adults, with particular attention to minority, high-risk youth. Through a previously funded five-year partnership (2010-2015), ICR and the WHSAPC collaborated on preventing underage drinking. We are now seeing a rise in prescription drug abuse in West Hartford, which follows a pattern seen in the region and the nation. Reported 30-day prescription drug misuse among high school students increased from 7.9% in 2011 to 10.9% in 2013. Furthermore, there is an identified high-risk population of underserved minority youth, particularly located in alternative schools within West Hartford, such as REACH, which face significant barriers to accessing culturally appropriate and effective prevention and treatment services. In a rapidly diversifying community such as West Hartford, it is critical to work with marginalized, often hidden populations to identify ways to support them and provide necessary resources.
ICR is working with youth and adult stakeholders in the West Hartford community, including the WHSAPC, the Town of West Hartford, school administration, students, parents, medical professionals, and service providers to better understand the scope of the prescription drug problem and develop strategies for reducing prescription drug misuse among youth. This program will build on previous work in West Hartford and will strengthen existing partnerships between ICR and the WHSAPC and Lead by Example, the student-led substance abuse prevention program that ICR helped launch with West Hartford students in 2013.