Carl Nathe

By

College: Agriculture, Food and Environment

Extension Agents Work to Prevent Substance Abuse

Published: Dec 18, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2012) — For many Kentuckians, the effects of substance abuse are all too real as they have either watched their friends and family struggle with these issues or have personally battled addiction.

 

A 2006 study published by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that Kentucky led the nation in the percentage of residents who reported using psychotherapeutic drugs, prescription pain relievers and prescription tranquilizers for nonmedical reasons within the previous year.

 

Active in their communities, county extension agents with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service have seen the effects of substance abuse. They are working to battle the problem through community partnerships and education.

 

“Extension agents know that by working in community coalitions and sharing their stories, they are helping lead grassroots efforts for change,” said Jeanne Davis, coordinator of the Different Faces of Substance Abuse Conference Team and UK extension program coordinator. “Their preventive programs are working to reduce the effects of substance abuse in their local populations.”

 

“So many families are going through this problem with someone in their family or extended family,” said Natasha Lucas, Owsley County family and consumer sciences extension agent. “As many families realize, this problem of drug abuse and misuse does not discriminate.”

 

Lucas is one of the many agents who have been involved with substance abuse education efforts for many years. She has focused on a variety of issues including awareness about methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse and misuse. She currently serves on the Owsley Drug Awareness Council, which is in the final year of a five-year, drug-free community grant from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

 

Lucas has partnered with the council for many extension programs, including those that raise awareness of youth drug abuse and its consequences. She has conducted educational sessions with elementary boys’ and girls’ basketball teams on the importance of keeping their brains healthy and drug free. In addition, the county’s 2nd Sunday, an extension event that promotes community physical activity, has a drug-free message.

 

“We have made some strides as a community in our battle against drug abuse, but we still have a lot of work to do,” she said.

 

In Pendleton County, Kenna Knight, family and consumer sciences extension agent, has tackled various forms of substance abuse and violence in her community as a member of the Pendleton County Champions Coalition for the past decade. The group includes representatives from community organizations including the health department, family resource centers, school personnel, the Northern Kentucky branch of the Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention Center in the Greater Cincinnati Area. The group focuses their efforts on the Search Institute’s concept of asset building to help prevent young people from becoming abusers and victims.

 

She said local data has shown that youth who skip school, threaten other students, get into trouble with law enforcement and get below average grades are at a greater risk for substance abuse than their peers.

 

“Anyone can be an asset builder for a young person,” Knight said. “We like asset building because it reminds people of the positive things they can do, such as having a family dinner or encouraging participation in school activities, to help youth focus on their strengths, develop positive attitudes and to give them positive role models.”

 

Knight and the coalition have dedicated part of a billboard campaign to asset building and train community members to become asset builders. The coalition also partnered with local pharmacies to put stickers on prescription bags explaining the proper disposal of unused medication.

 

She’s also used asset building in an extension program called Recipe for Life, in which fifth-graders work with an adult family member to learn about a family recipe and the story behind it. These recipes and stories are compiled in a book that is shared with other students in their grade. The students then go the Cooperative Extension office, where adult and student volunteers help them learn about meal preparation, setting a table and manners. Knight invites the students and their families to share a meal at the extension office to reflect on their work and encourages them to cook and eat family meals together.

 

Since the formation of the Pendleton County Champions Coalition, the percentages of the county’s middle and high school students regularly using cigarettes, alcohol and marijuana have all declined.

 

Like Knight and Lucas, Tracy Thornton Cowles, Butler County family and consumer sciences extension agent, has been actively involved with local substance abuse prevention efforts. While initial concerns with drug problems in her county focused on methamphetamine use, prescription drug abuse and misuse has now become an issue as well.

 

She uses positive reinforcement in talking with young people about substance abuse prevention and in her work with recovering substance abusers at a local treatment facility in Morgantown.

 

“I work with women at Andrea’s Mission on basic communication skills, dealing with pressure, parenting skills, motivational skills and even life skills like couponing,” she said. “The goal of the organization is to get these women the tools and skills they need to successfully live drug-free on their own once they leave the center.”

 

At the request of her County Extension Council, Cowles developed a program for fourth- and fifth-graders called Students Against Meth, where she discusses and shows photos of the effects of methamphetamine use. She also presents a drug-free message to every student at North Butler Elementary School as part of Red Ribbon Week.

 

 

 

CONTACT:   Katie Pratt, (859) 257-8774.

 

 

drugs-pills.jpg
October
 
 
 
1
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Wed
2
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Thu
3
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Fri
4
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Sat
5
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Sun
6
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Mon
7
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Tue
8
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Wed
9
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Thu
10
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Fri
11
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Sat
12
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Sun
13
 
Mon
14
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Wed
16
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Fri
18
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Sat
19
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Sun
20
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Mon
21
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Tue
22
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Wed
23
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Fri
25
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
26
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
What Makes You "YOU: with Brett T. Spear
Sun
27
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Kentucky Men's Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage
Mon
28
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Screening of the documentary Teached
Tue
29
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
UK Lab Safety Fair
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Wed
30
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
Thu
31
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Fri
 

Repeats every week until Sat Nov 29 2014 except Sat Sep 20 2014, Sat Oct 18 2014.
Sat, 10/25/2014

Reset Page