The Snoqualmie Valley Community Network recently led a key conversation among law enforcement and the local school districts about substance abuse in the valley and related prevention efforts. All three law enforcement jurisdictions in the Snoqualmie Valley (Snoqualmie PD, Duvall PD, and King County Sheriff) joined Superintendent Smith from Riverview School District and Superintendent Aune from Snoqualmie Valley School District for this important conversation.
The partners reviewed data from the Healthy Youth Survey (2012) and discussed what illegal substances are being seen most often in the Snoqualmie Valley. There was agreement that the Snoqualmie Valley community does struggle with illegal substance use like most places in the state of Washington.
The group discussed the need for key messaging within the community, not just messages that come from the school districts and law enforcement. The core message that really stood out to this group is: Talk Early and Often!
The group has agreed to this core message because it helps remind us all that talking to youth is essential to building healthy relationships. If we are making time to talk to kids about the everyday stuff on a regular basis, then when they need to talk to us about the really big stuff the behavior of talking to adults is normal. Talking early and often about peer pressure and substance abuse is also key to delaying and preventing youth use.
The next steps are to develop a messaging campaign that will invite other sectors of the community (churches, hospitals, health care) to also join in conveying this key message.