The Carbon Addiction Reduction and Elimination (CARE) Coalition hosted its first community event on Sept. 26. The coalition, in conjunction with Little Caesar’s Pizza and many other generous sponsors, provided 500 free pizzas and breadsticks to Carbon County families, flood victims, flood clean-up volunteers and local law enforcement agencies as part of National Eat Dinner As a Family Day. The event was intended to highlight the positive impact that one family meal a day has on children.
CARE is committed to providing a safe environment that empowers youth to be healthy, successful and compassionate members of the community. Events similar to the pizza giveaway are one way of uniting families, community members and local leaders together, thus setting a positive example for Carbon County youth to follow.
The primary focus of the CARE Coalition is to use a model called Communities That Care (CTC) to decrease youth substance use rates in Carbon County. This model is used to identify which risk factors, protective factors and problem behaviors are most impacting our kids. Using the Utah Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) Survey and other community data, it was determined that substance use is the primary dangerous behavior amongst Carbon County youth.
Alcohol was found to be the highest substance of use among Carbon County youth. The SHARP Survey also revealed that local youth are using e-cigarettes, marijuana and inhalants frequently. This data is concerning, and the CARE Coalition board is working to develop a community plan that will look at decreasing the risks and increasing the protection our youth face.
The CARE board is made up of representatives from 12 community sectors including: educators, faith leaders, parents, youth serving organizations, law enforcement, business, youth, local government, health care, civic groups, media, substance use prevention professionals. This board along with a leader board made up of officials from cities across the county, county commission, hospital, school district, university, health department, sheriff and Four Corners Community Behavioral Health have all come together to support an effort to reduce youth substance use in Carbon County. This united effort is a huge step in building support and resources locally that in turn should lower youth substance use rates.
The CARE Coalition and key-leaders are focused on targeting priority risk factors indicated through the SHARP Survey: low commitment to school, depressive symptoms and early initiation of anti-social behavior as well as protective factors: community rewards for prosocial involvement, family attachment. By addressing these factors, substance use rates should decrease.
The CARE Coalition hopes to provide education and opportunities for Carbon County families to strive for positive outcomes and decrease substance use. Activities such as Eat Dinner As A Family are just the beginning of positive steps CARE plans on taking to make the community stronger!