10.9% of young people surveyed here use electronic cigarettes, 9.5% use tobacco. Ozark County was chosen for a grant to focus on youth drug prevention.

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Ozark County was chosen as one of nine counties to be part of youth-focused substance use prevention through a federal grant program. The program was discussed at the July 12 meeting of the Ozark County Substance Abuse Task Force at the Gainesville First Baptist Church Community Events Center, where 12 members were in attendance.

The Regional Director of the Ozarks Community Partnership (CPO) PFS Grant Project, Anna Simonson, attended the meeting as a special guest. She shared information about the Regional Partnership for Success grant with the group.

The Regional Partnership for Success Grant is a federal grant that was awarded to the Missouri State Department of Behavioral Health. The project aims to lead youth-focused drug prevention efforts in counties across the state based on regional and local data.

Using the data, the CPO Prevention Resource Center was selected to manage a portion of this grant in nine of the 21 counties served by the CPO.

Ozark County was chosen as one of these counties based on the following data from the 2020 Missouri Student Survey, which is an optional survey of Missouri’s sixth through twelfth grade students:

• Among respondents, 10.9% had used e-cigarettes currently or in the past 30 days, while 9.5% of respondents currently or in the past month used tobacco in the form of cigarettes or chewing tobacco .

• The root causes and local conditions identified were the perception of enforcement of prohibitory policies, such as age-of-entry laws, carding procedures, and adult-provided access.

Planned activities for Ozark County included conducting tobacco compliance checks and engaging in youth education/empowerment.

Anna’s hopes to continue and develop this project are:

1. Conduct tobacco compliance checks and conduct training for responsible retailers and buyers

2. Host Research Institute Workshops: Development Assets: The Power of One, The Power of Many; development relationships and development assets; Asset Building Essentials for Trainers and Facilitators

3. Host community roundtables and learn how to better collaborate with Ozark County youth in efforts to build protective factors and reduce these risky behaviors

Anna welcomes all comments/questions at [email protected]

More information about the Missouri Student Survey for Ozark County can be found at: https://dmh.mo.gov/alcohol-drug/mobhew/missouri-student-survey-reports/2022

Community members who are interested can contact OSATF at email: [email protected] or by mail at Ozark County Substance Abuse Task Force, PO Box 793 Gainesville, MO 65655.

Monthly meetings are always held the second week of each month at the First Baptist Church Community Event Center on Third Street in Gainesville. Those interested in joining drug addiction efforts in the region are welcome.

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