We went to a fundraising event on Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn in Exton, PA for Communities that Care of Greater Downingtown (CTC). The organization helps facilitate communication and collaboration of prevention strategies in the Downingtown area. The organization’s mission is to empower youth to make positive choices to reach their full potential. From prevention education and public awareness, supporting parents and strengthening families to promoting healthy activities and events for youth and their families.
Addiction problems are a serious concern in all of Pennsylvania and around the country. In fact, according to several studies in the past year, overdoses and addiction are skyrocketing, particularly in the case of opiates like heroin. According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, drug overdoses in PA “increased 14-fold between 1979 and 2014 with the highest rates among females, white people and those between the ages of 35 and 44.” The paper went on to say that the highest rates of drug overdose deaths were found right in our backyard, in counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania and around Philadelphia. In fact, last year 3,505 people in Pennsylvania died from drug overdose. One of the reasons for the crisis is the over prescribing of opiod pain killers according to an article in the Pocono Record. In 2014: “1,700 young adults died from prescription drug overdoses, and for every overdose death, 22 treatment admissions took place and 199 users ended up in an emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.”
Clearly the problem affects many families in Pennsylvania, probably your friends, neighbors or even your family members.
Communities that Care is a research-based “community mobilization process: developed by David Hawkins Phd and Richard Catalano Phd to engage the entire community from families to peers to schools and other organizations that work with young people. CTC of Greater Downingtown began in 2000 from money from a address the “Risk and Protective Factors” as reported in the Pennsylvania Area Youth Survey (PAYS). The idea is to raise awareness and educate parents and community members about the risk factors their children are exposed to on a daily basis, and to suggest healthy activities and community involvement programs.
Boomtown donated and would like to make other local companies aware of the organization. Here is a link for others to donate: http://dtownctc.org/donate/ According to the 2015 PA Youth Survey:
- 25% of Downingtown 12th grade students use marijuana on a regular basis.
- Almost half of those students also report driving under the influence of marijuana.
- 7.5% of our students in 6th grade and 17% in 12th grade had considered suicide in the past year.
- 41% of students reported that their most frequent source or method of obtaining the alcohol they used is from “friends, brothers, or sisters.” 33% report obtaining alcohol at family or religious clebrations and 28% of students took it without permission from home, friends home, store, etc.