Kelly: For those in our community who might not know what CEASe is and does, would you tell them?
Lori: CEASe (Coalition to Eliminate the Abuse of Substances) is Scott County’s Local Coordinating Coalition, and we meet the first Thursday of every month from 11:45 am to 1 pm in the Scott Memorial Health Conference Room. For January only, we will be meeting on the 10th at the Lifelong Learning Center.
CEASe has served as the Local Coordinating Council (LCC) in Scott County for over 20 years. Community anti-drug coalitions were approved by the Governor’s Commission for a Drug Free Indiana and established by the general assembly in 1989. The coalition is now under the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, and we currently have about 25-40 people attending our monthly meetings.
The goal was to develop local coalitions in each of the 92 Indiana counties to assess and address local substance abuse issues. Coalitions comprised of individuals and community leaders representing different sectors in a community were encouraged to work together to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs on its residents.
As part of the Indiana state statute, the LCC is charged with the responsibility of assessing the impact of substances on the community by gathering data from law enforcement, courts, schools, community leaders, the coroner’s office, hospital, prosecutor, Indiana Youth Survey, Department of Child Services, etc., and to track those trends. Once the assessment is completed, the coalition is required to prepare a three-year Comprehensive Community Plan (CCP) which outlines the identified priority problems, objectives, and goals regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use in three areas: 1) prevention/education, 2) treatment/intervention, and 3) law enforcement/criminal justice.
Kelly: What is CEASe’s Vision and Mission for our community?
Lori: CEASe’s Vision is that Scott County will be a community free of substance abuse and addictions.
CEASe’s Mission Statement is to reduce the incidence and prevalence of substance abuse and addictions among youth and adults in Scott County. Scott County believes with its successful history of collaboration on multiple issues in the past, it will be able to coordinate efforts and successfully address the issue of substance abuse in our community. We are striving to become a community of abundant life and dignity where prevention is stressed, recovery is always possible, and many entry points into recovery are available.
Kelly: I understand that CEASe gives out grants to agencies in Scott County. Tell me more about this.
Lori: As the recognized substance abuse coalition in Scott County, CEASe is also charged with the administration of the community drug fund, also created by state statute. It is a system by which fines, assessed and collected through the court system from specific drug and alcohol offenses, are released back into the community as awarded grants to support agencies and providers. This allows these recipients to identify and expand services to those individuals being adversely affected by substances in the area of prevention/education, treatment/intervention and justice/law enforcement. Every year CEASe distributes between $18,000-$24,000 of Drug-Free Community funds in the form of community grants. CEASe has established a fiscally responsible administration policy regarding the distribution of these funds as a tool to assist it in achieving its goals as identified in the CCP.
Kelly: I realize that there are some hoops CEASe has to jump through in order to be able to grant out this funding. Tell me more about this.
Lori: Yes, you are correct. LCC’s are charged with writing a new Comprehensive Community plan every three years. This plan is a collaborative effort to assess the impact of substance abuse in Scott County, to collect data, to identify issues and to evaluate existing and new services. Our plan is to address alcohol and other drug issues at the local level as indicated by the assessment process (needs assessments, data collection, treatment, prevention, justice/law enforcement committee input, and community input). This plan then gets updated each October within the three year time frame. Once updated, it’s emailed to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute’s Substance Abuse Division Director for approval. Then they mail their approval letter and Scott County’s Comprehensive Community Plan to our County Commissioners who approve it, and then the auditor releases the funds for CEASe to grant out every January.
Kelly: What are the issues you are addressing right now in the current comprehensive community plan?
Lori: Our current problem statements are: Youth and Adults in Scott County use and abuse alcohol, and Youth and Adults in Scott County use and abuse prescription medications.
Kelly: What are some positive outcomes you have been seeing in the last several years?
Lori: In 2016 we applied for the Drug Free Communities Support Program Funding through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and were awarded the grant in October of 2016. Through this, we have been able to develop and implement evidence-based strategies to reduce and prevent youth substance use by using the Strategic Prevention Framework which guides our coalition through a community problem-solving process.
In Year 1, some of our outcomes included:
- Evidenced-based Prevention Curricula taught in all public schools impacting grades 3 – 12
- New Alternative Youth Activities in heart of Austin’s highest substance misuse area – Weekly youth mentoring & activities with transportation provided
- 34 Medical, Dental & Law Enforcement professionals trained in INSPECT—Indiana’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) from 2015 to 2017
- 898,633 community-wide prevention education campaign reaches (radio, print, email, and social media)
- New Student Drug Screening Policy implemented in both County high schools
- Scott County 9th Graders self-reported use within the last 30 days dropped (see attachment below in green/yellow)
- Data from the Indiana Youth Survey administered annually to 6th through 12th graders by Indiana Prevention Resource Center