Wellness coalition celebrates success of 2019
Nearly 15 years ago, a group of community leaders made a goal to reduce the amount of youth drug and alcohol abuse in the Stoughton community.
Now, the Stoughton Wellness Coalition holds several activities aimed at this and other community wellness goals such as medication disposals, interactive events and school programs.
On Friday, Jan. 31, board members, community leaders and partners held the inaugural Celebration of Success event at the Stoughton Hospital to reflect on the nonprofit organization’s success and recognize the accomplishments of the last year.
Teressa Pellett, project coordinator, said the organization is two years into a five-year federal Drug Free Communities grant, and she highlighted five key accomplishments in 2019.
These are funding an anti-bullying program, holding two medication take-back events, working with the police department to perform alcohol age compliance checks, hosting an event to show parents how to spot signs of drug use and running an interactive event to show students the possible consequences of drug use.
Safe School Ambassadors
The Safe School Ambassadors program, which debuted in Stoughton in 2018, empowers students to prevent peer mistreatment, also known as bullying.
SSA is a nationwide program that teaches six skills to stop peer mistreatment: Balancing, supporting, reasoning, distracting, active listening and getting help. In the Stoughton Area School District, SWA provided support to train eight teachers, 12 youth mentors and 51 ambassadors.
Some of the ambassadors from 2018 are starting at Stoughton High School, and the program is expanding to Fox Prairie Elementary School and Sandhill Elementary School.
SWC organized two medication roundup and sharps disposal events in 2019, one in the spring and one in the fall.
It also sponsored the permanent drug drop off boxes located at the Stoughton Police Department. In 2019, SWA collected 1,255 pounds of unused medication and 798 pounds of sharps. The materials are sent to the state for proper disposal.
Alcohol compliance checks
To reduce underage drinking, SWC partners with the Stoughton Police Department to conduct alcohol age compliance checks, in which underage people attempt to purchase alcohol at Stoughton businesses.
In 2018, 54% of retailers refused to sell to minors, Pellett said, and in 2019, that number increased to 87%.
Hidden in Plain Sight
SWC built a mock room to help show parents youth could have drugs “in plain sight.”
Pellet previously told the Hub, the room is not an invitation for parents to rummage through their children’s room but rather a teaching tool to help parents identify potential drug abuse.
The SWC hosted three Hidden in Plain Sight events in 2019.
In 2019, 202 high school students participated in the SWC’s interactive reality maze.
Participants role play different scenarios to get a peek into potential consequences of abusing drugs. Community organizations are present to educate the particiapnts such as law enformcement, EMS, Rape Crisis Center, counselors, insurance, judge, parents, and hospital.
Statistics provided by the Stoughton Wellness Coalition