Engaging an entire village to relieve a local condition is very applicable to the current public health model for addressing underage substance abuse. The ripple effect of systemic public health issues upon individuals, families, communities, education, law enforcement, and health systems, and national infrastructure, exceed the capacity and resources of any system, program, or sole effort to resolve alone. According to the 2010 National Prevention Strategy, chronic diseases and conditions account for 7 out 10 deaths in the United States and 75% of medical care expenditures, most of which are PREVENTABLE ! National public health trends are shifting from a focus on disease treatment to one of prevention! Not only does prevention work, but community coalition building and collaborative problem solving are proven vehicles for preventing and reducing the onset of substance use disorder!
The KCPC seeks to mobilize 12 core sectors –youth under the age of 18, parents, businesses, media, schools/universities, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, religious/fraternal organizations, civic/volunteer organizations, healthcare, and government-- all of whom are influential to the local landscape where people live, work, learn, fellowship, and play. This village-like framework has changed community conditions, norms, systems and policies in landmark ways.
In spite of successful strides in informing and mobilizing the community, there is still much for the coalition to do in order to overcome existing barriers. This issue celebrates the collaborative work of our community, but charts the course to overcoming concerns of sustainability and obtaining demographically representative data for our community. Ultimately, this newsletter edition is designed to inspire you to act and get engaged in the collaborative decision-making vehicles that help drive change and improve the health of all who call Kent County home.