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Youth alcohol prevention group attends training

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By Anna Erickson

Hubbard in Prevention members have learned new strategies in preventing alcohol use among youth at trainings this summer.

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Community members from the Hubbard in Prevention (HIP) Coalition joined more than 1,700 substance abuse prevention specialists from across the country for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) in Austin, Texas July 21-25.

CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute is a unique training opportunity designed specifically for community-based substance abuse prevention organizations like HIP.

Community members participated in a variety of lecture and hands-on sessions to expand their knowledge and understanding of prevention science and improve their skills in implementing evidence-based strategies to reduce drug and underage alcohol use.

This year’s mid-year conference featured a number of renowned experts in the field of substance abuse prevention research who focused on the theme: “Big Ideas for Social Change.”

“We were fortunate to be able to spend a week with other similar organizations from across the country, learning and honing our skills so we can more effectively prevent drug and alcohol abuse,” said Tami Yliniemi, coalition co-chairperson. “We have returned re-energized with new strategies under our belt to tackle drug use and its associated problems in Hubbard County.”

She learned it’s important for communities to move away from tradition and toward more science based data.

“We need to be clear as a community about why we’re doing the things we’re doing,” she said. “At the convention I saw other communities that are seeing the benefits of uniting around a common cause.”

Other attendees came from small, rural communities and others from large cities. There was common ground, though.

“Our problems are similar, just on a smaller scale from some of the others,” Yliniemi said. “We need to figure out what is working and change with the times.”

The coalition also recently worked on strategic planning by inviting national CADCA trainer Deacon Dzierzawski to Park Rapids for a six hour workshop with coalition members.

“Gaining knowledge at the Mid-Year Training Institute will only enhance the effectiveness of the strategies the coalition chooses going forward,” said HIP Coalition coordinator Beth Heltunen.

HIP is also excited to be moving forward with the Positive Community Norms campaign, “We Decide.”  Sara Thompson, an experienced media consultant, is being contracted to not only create media pieces but also to help train and guide the coalition through the process of cultural transformation in this community. Thompson has seven years’ experience working in youth alcohol prevention media campaigns.

The Hubbard in Prevention Coalition was formed in 2011. Through the use of prevention strategies, the Coalition strives to reach the goal of reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs by youth in Hubbard County.

For more information, contact Beth Heltunen at bethheltunen@catholichealth.net or 255-3692.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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