New coalition addresses growing substance abuse problem in Oceana County.

May 17, 2016

imageHART — Oceana County’s new Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition recently held its first planning meeting, with about 20 coalition members in attendance

Coalition members represented a variety of community sectors including: law enforcement, school administration, local businesses, healthcare professionals, parents, and others. All were passionate and excited to make a positive impact in the community by reducing drug and alcohol use among youth.

During the meeting, coalition members shared personal and professional perspectives on substance abuse issues in Oceana County, which provided the group a better understanding of substance abuse issues in the community. Additionally, members worked collaboratively to prioritize local areas of concern using data collected from the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth survey (MiPHY, 2010-2014).

Marijuana and alcohol use were identified as the top areas of concern. According to MiPHY data, 14 percent of Oceana County high school students were age 13 or younger the first time they drank alcohol. Nearly 32 percent of 11th grade students have been drunk before. Fourteen percent of high school students reported they had ridden with someone who had been drinking. In 2014, 28 percent of high school students reported having used marijuana. The average age of first use for marijuana in Oceana County is 13.6 years old. Data shows that marijuana use is increasing between ninth and 11th grades.

During the meeting, members identified several gaps in the data. Over the summer, a small sub-committee will work to collect additional data to fill identified gaps. Additional data collected will include data on teen’s use of e-cigarettes and marijuana; how teens are obtaining alcohol; parental attitudes toward teens using alcohol and marijuana; why teens are using alcohol; and whether or not teens are misusing their own prescription drugs.

The work of the coalition is made possible in part due to funding provided by Lakeshore Regional Entity to District Health Department #10 in Oceana County. This project is part of a statewide effort to reduce substance abuse issues among youth and young adults.

If you would like to be involved in the coalition, or if you have questions about this project, contact Kortni Evans at: or (231) 902-8539.

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