Coalitions in Action – Floyd Against Drugs sees Community Prevention Efforts Thrive

“Floyd County is the 26th largest county in Georgia, with a population of approximately 98,500,” said the coalition’s Executive Director Dale Styers. “The median age is 38.5 and the county covers 513 square miles. The overall poverty rate is 19.06%. We have 6,226 veterans in our area. Year over year crimes in Floyd County have increased by 31.08% while at the same time our overall crime is still .97% lower than the national average. We have two four-year colleges, Berry College and Shorter University, as well as two hospitals, Floyd Medical Center and Redmond Hospital.” 

“Floyd Against Drugs (FAD) received CADCA’s 2019 Advocate of the Year Award for its contributions to important reductions in past 30-day alcohol and marijuana use,” said Styers. “This is an outstanding honor for our coalition, given the size of our target population and our coalition size. FAD’s primary target audience includes all students in grades 6 through 12 who attend the county and city schools, young adults aged 18-21 and parents of youth.” 

“FAD has always had a strong volunteer base with minimal turnover,” said Styers. “Our coalition has received material and non-material support from local government offices, non-profit entities and school-based substance use and misuse prevention programs. For example, our city and county governments support FAD through use of facilities for events, office space, meeting space, exposure on their websites and staff expertise.” 

“As a collaborative community partner working to support existing efforts to prevent and reduce substance misuse among youth, we stand out for the way we work with other entities,” said Styers. “We work well with school-based programs that operate parallel and independent of ours, but we complement each other.” 

“Like other organizations, we struggle to come up with new, innovative ways to get the prevention message out through outdoor activities,” said Styers. “Our International Overdose Awareness Day event was a good example of coming up with something ‘out of the box.’ We hosted a gathering with a butterfly release and wristbands, along with a lot of public relations coverage. It was simple and poignant, and we had approximately 90 people show up for the ceremony.”

“Our new Drug Buster Trailer has also given us the opportunity to be out in the community teaching adults what to look for in a child's bedroom if they suspect drug activity,” said Styers. “The trailer has been completely modified to look like a teen bedroom and bathroom, but we have added drug paraphernalia to show adults what it looks like and where it might be hidden. It is for adults eighteen and older only, and is available to churches, civic organizations, other coalitions and similar organizations. Our coalition has a track record of implementing established, evidenced-based environmental strategies, and we are always eager to embrace new options that appear promising and fill a niche yet to be filled. Our educational trailer is a good example of this.”

“FAD has always worked to provide information in a variety of ways, including through our Facebook page and other social media avenues,” said Styers. “Currently, we are mentoring a new teen group, Drug Free Future, and we provide support and leadership skills to guide them as they develop their program.”

Other coalitions working to continue prevention efforts during COVID-19 should keep looking for new and innovative ideas to keep it fresh,” said Styers. “There is nothing wrong with borrowing! I use the CADCA Community all the time to come up with new ideas for our coalition.”