The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition was awarded the Iowa Partnership for Success (IPFS) Grant in February 2015 to address underage drinking and underage binge drinking in Van Buren County. The coalition began the fifth year of this five year grant on September 30, 2018. The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition’s IPFS project is funded by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
During this final year of the IPFS Project the coalition is continuing to build capacity, build sustainability, evaluate the work being done, and implement the five strategies it was funded to work on as follows:
1) Alcohol Restrictions at Community Events at Privately Owned Facilities: The coalition is working with privately owned facilities to help them write, adopt, and implement alcohol policies focused on the Best Practices for Alcohol Service at their location. During this year the coalition members will continue to work with three of the ten facilities in Van Buren County to encourage implementation of alcohol restrictions policies. One facility is in the process of writing their new policy. Four of the ten facilities have already adopted and implemented new written alcohol restriction policies since 2016. The coalition would recommend that all facilities in the county put into place a written alcohol restriction policy. The coalition will also be working with local law enforcement to provide training on how to enforce these new policies.
2) Alcohol Restrictions in Public Places: Coalition members visited with each city council in 2017 to present them with information on policies they could use that would address the availability of alcohol to youth in public places, such as public parks and community ball fields. Coalition members visited with the city councils in early 2018 to find out if they are were interested in implementing Alcohol Restriction Policies for their public places. Four of the seven towns stated at that time that they are not interested in implementing Alcohol Restriction Ordinances. Another town has written policies for their ball park and city park and will be hanging signs at the ball park that no alcohol is allowed. One town is allowing the coalition to participate in a community event planning committee that will set policy for their community events and may allow a written alcohol restriction policy through this committee. One town has committed to writing and implementing a best practices alcohol restriction policy for their community parks by the end of 2018. The coalition is now working to find ways to work with the towns that have said they are not interested in ordinances. The coalition will also be working with local law enforcement to provide them with training on how to enforce these new ordinances.
3) Substance Abuse Prevention Programs for Youth: The coalition has worked with the Van Buren Community School District to implement the Botvin Life Skills Training Program in the 7th and 8th grades since the 2016-17 school year. For the 2018-19 school year the curriculum will be taught by a different teacher so, the coalition and school district with the help of the Decat Board made sure the teacher is trained and ready for the new school year to implement the Life Skills program. In the 2018-19 school year the 7th grade will complete Level I and the 8th grade will complete Level II of the Botvin Life Skills Training Program.
4) Underage Drinking Prevention Media Campaign: The coalition has worked with local media outlets to implement IDPH’s “What Do You Throw Away” underage drinking prevention media campaign. It is currently displayed on posters in the Van Buren County Hospital & Clinics; posters at local libraries; on the SAFE Coalition’s Facebook pages, Website, and Blog; and posters and electronic billboard ads at the Van Buren Community Middle/High School. During the summer of 2018 the campaign was also displayed in poster form at local convenience stores, the Keosauqua Pool, and at Lacey Keosauqua State Park. During the 2017-18 school year the Youth Leadership Council members also helped by placing the media campaign ads on their personal social media accounts to reach their peers with the message. The coalition will continue to work with local media outlets to ensure youth are exposed to the media campaign.