The grant will provide $125,000 for each of the next five years giving the organization access to a total of $625,000 to prevent and reduce substance use in youth in Hubbard County.

“We are very fortunate to have been awarded another five years of federal funding,” Community Health Grant Coordinator Angela Graham said. “I am thankful for this opportunity to continue working in prevention with Hubbard in Prevention Coalition members, youth, community members and key stakeholders to reduce youth substance use in Hubbard County.”

The grant will help provide educational and skill-building opportunities to community members, parents and youth in Hubbard County.

“Hubbard in Prevention’s mission is to grow the strengths in our community and transform areas where positive changes can be made,” Graham said. “We aim to reduce the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs by youth through a comprehensive approach when implementing prevention strategies in Hubbard County.”

Vaping and marijuana use

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According to a news release from CHI St. Joseph’s Health, in partnership with Hubbard in Prevention Coalition, will address underage drinking, youth tobacco (vaping) and marijuana use in their five-year plan.

Tobacco and alcohol are the most commonly reported substances of use among youth in the county, with rates higher than the statewide average.

Marijuana is the next most commonly used substance, with local rates similar to the statewide average. Hubbard County youth report that they believe marijuana use and vaping are less risky compared to other substances.

While prescription drug misuse among youth is still a concern, rates of use are low and have declined in recent years. HIP will strive to prevent and reduce substance use among all youth in the county, with additional coalition resources used to support youth who are at higher risk of substance use due to mental health concerns as well as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

According to CHI St. Joseph’s Health, Hubbard County has been working to prevent youth alcohol, tobacco and drug use since 2008.

“Substance use and chemical dependency continues to be identified as one of our top community health needs,” CHI St. Joseph’s Health President Ben Koppelman said. “We are very happy that we have been given the opportunity and funding to continue this important work.”

Two specific goals

Graham said the coalition will continue to use a comprehensive approach working with health care, media, law enforcement, schools, government, community organizations, businesses and others to reach two specific goals.

The first goal is to increase community collaboration by strategies such as member recruitment, expanding partnerships, broadening community participation and providing education, building skills and training to youth, partners and community members.

“One challenge HIP faces and will be working on improving is recruiting and retaining youth and adult members,” Graham said.

The second goal is to reduce youth substance use by strategies such as providing information through education and media campaigns directed at youth and adults to correct misperceptions of peer substance use, continue partnering with the Park Rapids Police and Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office to provide responsible beverage server training and compliance checks to reduce access, enhance barriers and enforce laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to minors.

HIP will also continue to work with Laporte, Nevis and Park Rapid school districts to help provide education, skill-building opportunities and training to youth and adults in the community to raise awareness of risks associated with youth tobacco use.

They will also work to enhance the skills of parents, adult family members, coaches and other community adults to identify the signs of youth substance use by providing educational events, educational material and other resources.

HIP will continue to gather data to help answer the question: “How have the lives of Hubbard County youth improved as a result of the HIP coalition?” Through surveys, interviews, listening sessions, and activity tracking, HIP will continually assess what’s working well, what can be improved, the extent to which youth well-being has improved, and the extent to which disparities have been reduced.

For more information about HIP, contact Graham at angelagraham@catholichealth.net or 218-255-3692.