Coalition Group Wants To Limit Substance Abuse In Benton County
SAUK RAPIDS -- A group in Benton County is making a push for changes in the community regarding substance abuse.
The Benton County Substance Use Prevention Coalition is on a mission to change the perceptions and culture surrounding drug and alcohol use.
Julie Willman is the Public Health Educator with Benton County Human Services. She says substance abuse is one of the top issues facing the county.
"It's something we need to address and if we want to change our culture we need to change the perceptions that people have around substance use," says Willman.
The coalition met with several members of the community this (Thursday) morning at the Benton County Government Center. The group talked about how to empower youth and adults to make better choices through prevention and education.
Benton County Deputy Sean Gitch says when he talks to students, many of them get the wrong impression about drugs and alcohol based off of what they see in the media.
"They are getting their information and learning from the wrong places, so we want to make it our job to let them know in reality most teens are not drinking or doing drugs," says Gitch.
In a 2013 survey about 71% of high school students thought their classmates use alcohol or drugs, but in reality 86% of students said they haven't done either.
Willman says with community, educational and promotional efforts from residents and city officials they hope to not only prevent substance abuse in Benton County, but throughout the state.