Alabaster Prevention Team addresses new strategies

ALABASTER – City officials, law enforcement, clergy, parents, medical professionals and other members of the Alabaster community gathered at City Hall to discuss different strategies to combat alcohol and drug abuse among local youth at the Alabaster Prevention Team on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

According to Compact2020 Prevention Director Carol Williams, the purpose of the meeting was for community members to explore different strategies to reduce drug problems, particularly involving marijuana, alcohol and prescription medication, in Alabaster.

The strategies include providing information about substance abuse, enhancing skills, providing support for at-risk youth, enhancing access to resources, changing consequences, changing the environment and modifying local policies and laws.

“This is the first step in moving us towards implementing these strategies in our communities,” Williams said. “We have representation from all of the different sectors of our community.”

Like the last meeting, those who were attended were split into three groups based on their knowledge of each of the three aforementioned drugs. They discussed different ways to uniquely implement the strategies

In the group focused on prescription drug abuse, members stated that over-prescribing by doctors is a problem and pushed for more accountability to be placed on doctors. Members also said that, because the drugs are prescribed, many people don’t recognize the harmful effects of abusing them.

“I think this is the most challenging one, because people think that if the doctors are telling them it’s okay, and the parents are telling them it’s okay, then it’s okay,” one member said.

Members of the group focused on alcohol abuse suggested that printing a brochure that briefly outlined state laws on underage drinking, along with additional information about the causes of alcohol abuse and local resources, would be an effective tool for parents.

Members of the group focused on marijuana suggested getting parents and teachers involved in efforts to prevent marijuana use. They also suggested educating students and parents on ways to anonymously report suspicious activity.

Compact 2020 Director Alan Miller said the Alabaster Prevention Team is continuing to grow and he was encouraged by the turnout at this meeting.

“I’m encouraged by what we are continuing to see from Alabaster,” Miller said.

The next Alabaster Prevention Team meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Feb. 27. The Alabaster Prevention Team is one of several similar groups in cities throughout Shelby County that were set up by Compact 2020. For more information about the groups, visit Compact2020.com.