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Newaygo County, MI

Coalition for a Drug-Free Newaygo County

The Coalition for a Drug-Free Newaygo County is a 30-member group that works through the offices of PRIDE Youth Programs to change community attitudes about youth alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. The Too Smart To Start team in Newaygo County will focus their efforts on 9- to 13-year-old students and PRIDE club members as well as on parents and the larger community.

The Newaygo County team reaches youth with peer-to-peer interactive skill-building and community service activities that promote positive alternatives to alcohol use. In addition, the team has developed a computer-based online and CD interactive game to deliver underage alcohol use prevention education to youth. In partnership with the schools, the team provides youth with the opportunity to interact with this online computer game in a classroom setting and learn about the harms of underage alcohol use in a fun way.

The team reaches parents through their children by disseminating take-home packets to youth that include information about the harms of underage alcohol use and communication methods that parents can use in talking with their children about alcohol. Parents are provided with an educational packet to review with their children as well as access to the online game to play with their children. To ensure that parents and youth are communicating, an incentive program is launched and youth who return items from the packet receive an award. In addition, the team works with the schools to include information about the harms of underage alcohol use in parent newsletters in the hopes that parents will share it with their children.

To reach the community and increase public disapproval of underage alcohol use, the Too Smart To Start team partners with the PRIDE teams in Newaygo County. PRIDE teams disseminate underage alcohol use prevention and Too Smart To Start information packages at top area shopping centers. In addition, information packages are placed at a number of popular stores.

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