The City of Longview Partners in Prevention, Coalition for Drug-Free Youth has made many accomplishments for over 20 years. Funded by Health and Human Services Commission, this Coalition works with the community to reduce underage drinking and youth drug misuse in Gregg County. This year, specifically, the Committee has achieved many milestones, surpassing the group’s goal developed in October of last year.
Coalition Coordinator, Whitney Pierce, states, “This team is extremely passionate about our community and the success of our youth. This past year, we have doubled, even tripled our efforts in 2017, resulting in more education to youth and adults through presentations, informational booths at schools, health fairs, and other community events.”
The Coalition has also expanded its member population to include representation from the: Police Department, Fire Department, teachers and administrative staff from local school districts, concerned parents, students from Longview and Pine Tree ISD, faith-based organizations, Substance Abuse Prevention Specialists, Mental Health Professionals, Healthcare, Media, and Teen Court. Pierce also states, “In addition to the many achievements the group has attained this year, CDFY has initiated many environmental changes that impact our overall community. These changes include: disseminating Deterra At-Home Disposal Pouches that properly dispose of prescription medication to Drug Emporium, Medical Plaza, Longview Drugs and the Fire Department, installing a Syringe Disposal Box at the Fire Department Central Station, collecting over 1,000 lbs. of prescription drugs through the Prescription Drug Drop-Box at the Longview and White Oak Police Departments, initiating the first Sticker Shock Campaign to educate the community on the laws of underage drinking through Chick-Fil-A, Papacita’s, Goung Zhou, Nanny Goats, It’ll Do Deli, Cace’s Kitchen, Dollar General on Judson Rd., Heritage Liquor Store, and Skinner’s Gas Station, and implementing the first Prescription Drug Take-Back Day initiated by the Longview Police Department, collecting over 88 lbs. of medication.
Pierce adds, “One of our biggest accomplishments this year was having student representation at the table. Almost every month since December we have had close to 25 students from Longview and Pine Tree ISD attend CDFY meetings and give their input. Having youth feedback is critical and it has helped us shape our practice and mindset for substance abuse prevention. Our goal is to teach teachers, not students, meaning if we equip students with knowledge and skills, they can in turn teach others.”
If you would like to be part of this team and help to reduce youth drug misuse, the Coalition is always seeking representation from each sector of the community. The Coalition for Drug-Free Youth meets the last Thursday of every month from 11AM-12PM at Community Connections, 501 Pine Tree Rd, and invites anyone to attend.