On November 21st, at our regularly scheduled meeting, we welcomed Deanne Jackson, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator for the Kitsap County Dept. of Human Services.  The program known as the Kitsap Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, is more than a job for Deanne, it is her passion.  The Coalition is a partnership of state agencies, counties, schools and local prevention coalitions supporting communities in preventing alcohol and other drug abuse and its negative consequences.  One of her favorite quotes by Mark Hyman sums it up:  “The power of a community to create better health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital.”

Deanne discussed the need and importance of educating both youth and adults on underage substance abuse prevention.  Some examples included the use of Vapors (an alternative to smoking cigarettes) at schools.  Until recently, Vapors were not classified as an illegal substance on school premises. However, thanks to the continued efforts of the coalition and other agencies, by providing resources that included health studies on its dangers, Vapors were finally banned from school premises.  Another example and hot topic affecting our youth is the illegal use of prescription drugs.  How many of us have had prescribed pain killers from an old injury or an operation and we forgot to discard them?  The Coalition teaches that properly disposing of prescription drugs eliminates access by youth and at the same time can protect the environment.

If you would like to learn more or to get involved, the coalition meets on the second Monday of the month at 1:00 p.m.  For details on the location of the meetings and any other activities of the coalition, contact Deanne Jackson at 360-337-4878, or by e-mail at dmontgom@co.kitsap.wa.us.