San Juan County is now in its third year of the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI funded by the Washington’s State’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR). The initiative addresses youth mental health, delinquency, and school performance with a priority placed on preventing and reducing youth use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs, and other drugs. Particular attention is placed on youth substance use as self-reported by youth in the Washington State Healthy Youth Survey. Staff report that alcohol continues to be the highest used and abused substance by youth, while marijuana use continues to rise as youth perception of harm of marijuana use declines. The required CPWI collaboration between the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition and the Northwest Education Services District continues to grow with the placement of a Prevention Intervention Specialist in the San Juan Island School District which was identified as the highest risk school district in San Juan County by DBHR and the OSPI. The primary role of the San Juan Island Prevention Coalition is to build and sustain a community collaborative that carries out a continuous improvement process. The model is known as the Strategic Prevention Framework which is used to assess, plan, implement, evaluate, build capacity, and sustain a prevention plan that identifies and addresses priority risk and protective factors. Currently, identified risk factors include access and availability, and lack of perception of harm. The CPWI funding for coalition operations comes from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)’s Substance Abuse block grant and the Partnership for Success grant, both administered by DBHR.
In November 2015, Dedicated Marijuana Funds were added to San Juan County’s prevention funding to explicitly offer Evidenced-Based Programs to the CPWI community. San Juan County is expanding direct services to youth by teaching the Life Skills Training Curriculum to Grade 6 students.
The County Prevention Coordinator continues to provide information and identify resources for Lopez and Orcas islands, including leadership and planning development, community assessment processes, LifeSkills Training resources, and the youth leadership initiative.