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Gwinnett Mobilizing for Change on Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

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Gwinnett Mobilizing for Change in ATOD (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs) is an environmental strategies initiative, with multiple strategies and services. This initiative follows the evidence based model Communities Mobilizing for Change in Alcohol. Its services cannot be described in a schedule format, such as a program that provides services Monday through Friday, from 3:00 to 6:00. The prevention services that are provided include: a coalition addressing underage ATOD use prevention; public awareness campaigns focusing on underage drinking (with particular emphasis on social hosting) and underage tobacco use; alcohol vendor training; Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws compliance checks; youth action teams that provide peer-focused environmental strategies targeting middle and high school age youth; a youth advisory board; and participation in local, regional and statewide coalitions addressing underage drinking and tobacco use.GCoal_color_CopyReducedSize

GUIDE is an active member of the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services. Ari Russell is on the Coalition’s Board of Directors. The Coalition conducts regular comprehensive needs assessments, is charged with coordinating services in Gwinnett for children and families, brings stakeholders to the table to address local needs and concerns and acts as a catalyst for change. All of GUIDE's initiatives are based on results of the Coalition's needs assessments and related benchmarks and are included in the Coalition's three-year plan. The Coalition has been a Drug Free Communities grantee since 2007. It also received a STOP Act grant (Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act, passed Dec. 2006) that began in October, 2009. GUIDE is the lead agency for several of the initiatives funded by these grants because they compliment the Gwinnett Mobilizing initiative.

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GASPS (GeorgiA Strategic Prevention System) Alcohol Project - GUIDE is one of 41 statewide providers who are participating in the Georgia Strategic Prevention System Alcohol Project (GASPS).

Statewide, the project focuses on one or more of these goals:

  1. Reduce the early onset of alcohol use among 9-20 year olds
  2. Reduce access to alcohol and binge drinking among 9-20 year olds
  3. Reduce binge drinking and heavy drinking among 18-25 year olds

Locally, GUIDE has brought together a Community Prevention Alliance Workgroup (CPAW) made up of volunteers interested in planning strategies to address one or more of the GASPS goals.  This group represents parents, youth, youth-serving agencies and organizations, behavioral health, GUIDE and the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services.  Youth are represented by the Youth Advisory Board.

The CPAW will be following SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), a process that begins with community assessment and moves to capacity-building, planning, implementation and evaluation.  Based on the assessment results, the CPAW will determine which goal(s) it will address in the future and start planning environmental strategies to affect change.  The group will work closely with already established committees under the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services, such as Research and Accountability, Strategic Planning and the Board of Directors.

As part of the GASPS, GUIDE has developed the public awareness campaign, “Alcohol Free Gets Me”.  The campaign uses PhotoVoice, an evidence-based strategy to empower youth to have a voice in their communities.  Young people are invited to take pictures that illustrate goals or dreams they have for their future that will be more likely to happen if they remain alcohol-free.  Each photo entry will have a caption that relates to “Alcohol free will get me…. (i.e., closer to a basketball scholarship, the opportunity to become a marine biologist, etc.)  For more information about this campaign and how to participate, visit:  www.alcoholfreegetsme.org.  More information detailing the actions being taken by the CPAW as it moves through the SPF process will be added in the future.