Voices for Prevention (V4P) hosted the 

2nd Annual Substance Abuse Prevention Day

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Prevention is one of the most powerful tools in reducing substance use disorders! Last year was the first time that prevention stakeholders from across the state were able to collectively share why we believe in prevention and that Prevention Saves Lives and Dollars.

On February 10, 2016 we continued the momentum with over 150 youth, prevention providers, coalition members and individuals uniting to share how prevention is Changing Minds and Saving Lives. Last year we affirmed that for every $1 invested in prevention saves Georgia $30; this year we shared that the dollars invested (in a 1-pager) are improving outcomes among our youth!

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We kicked off Substance Abuse Prevention Day with a comprehensive look at advocacy efforts. Gregg Raduka from The Council on Substance Abuse provided an update on the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) and HB 722, which establishes legislation around Marijuana cultivation and dispensaries (bill summary). Then Laura Colbert from Georgians for a Healthy Future discussed Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), which is an evidenced-based practice used to identify, reduce and prevent abuse and dependence on alcohol and drugs. There is great opportunity to advocate for funding of SBIRT use in Georgia because it is an effective tool for primary prevention of substance use disorders. Next, Missy Owen from the Davis Direction Foundation, shared a touching story about her son who battled Heroin/Opioid addiction and the importance of removing the stigma associated with this disease. Lastly, Laura Searcy, vice board chair of the Cobb Community Alliance to Prevent Substance Abuse discussed HB 896, an amendment to the GA Code 3-3-23, which will hold property owners responsible for any underage drinking that occurs on property that they own, lease or otherwise control (bill summary).

sappic3sappic4Carmen Caldwell was the MC for the program and she did a wonderful job maintaining the energy throughout the day! She kept the youth involved with the secondary theme D.A.B (Decreasing Addiction Brilliantly). After the Kick-off, everyone was able to meet with their respective representative with their 1-pagers in hand, which shared how they are working to Change Minds in their communities.

We reconvened at the Capitol for the Rally. We were motivated and rejuvenated by youth advocates sharing why they give time and effort to prevention work within their communities. Travis Fretwell (Director of Office of Behavioral Health of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Diseases (DBHDD)), Motivational speaker Kit Cummings, Representative Joyce Chandler, Senator Mullis and Superintendent Woods all encouraged prevention providers to keep pushing and using environmental strategies to reduce substance use disorders. They also encouraged the youth to continue being leaders within their environments. We concluded this wonderful day with a picture on the steps of the Capitol!

Thank you to everyone that helped make our 2nd Annual Substance Abuse Prevention Day such a success! See you next year!

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Environmental Strategies: Substance Abuse Prevention Bills Proposed

HB 722 introduced by Rep. Alan Peake (R-Macon) to assist individuals with listed conditions obtain cannabis oil for medicinal purposes in Georgia. As of Wednesday, February 24, 2016 the House Non-Civil Judiciary Committee removed all in-state cultivation, dispensaries and unlimited THC% with no cap. The new version does expand conditions covered to include, autism, PTSD and Alzheimer’s; however the maximum THC percentage is 5%.

HB 701 sponsored by Rep. David Casas (R-Lilburn) is requiring 12 hours of annual instruction for grades 3-12 in alcohol and drug use prevention. It has been assigned to House Education Committee.

HB 896 introduced by Rep. Emory Dunahoo ( R- Gainesville) to amend code 3-3-23, which addresses furnishing, purchasing and possession of alcohol among individuals under 21. The amendment will expand this code to include social host’s criminal responsibility and civil liability; holding the property owner responsible for underage drinking that occurs on property that they own, lease or otherwise control. It has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 900 sponsored by Rep. Sharon Cooper (R-Marietta) to improve the prescription drug monitoring program by extending the retention of information in the database to two years; authorizes other dispensing staff access to the database and other reporting authority; and collect data for analysis. The House HHS Committee passed the bill and is now awaiting a vote from the Senate HHS committee.

SB 384 sponsored by Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) raises the prison terms and fines for trafficking heroin. The bill is assigned to the Senate Public Safety Committee.

SB 402 introduced by Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga) that places a moratorium on issuing new licenses to narcotic treatment programs and creates the State Commission on Narcotic Treatment programs. Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities committee reported favorably on February 25, 2016; the bill should move into its second reading.