Routt County substance abuse survey results to aid Grand Futures

Information to help group create programming

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Grand Futures Prevention Coalition survey results

— A Routt County parent survey conducted by Grand Futures Prevention Coalition will help it create new programming to promote alternatives to youth substance abuse.

Vicki Barron, chairwoman of the Routt County board of advisers for Grand Futures, said it would help the tri-county organization identify areas where more education could be provided to local parents.

“It was more to gauge awareness about different things in the community,” said Barron, a community health educator for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. “Being tied to prevention and awareness, we had to find out certain things before going forward. We wanted to see where parents are on certain positions.”

Barron said it was the first time Grand Futures conducted the 12-question survey, which was completed by 235 parents whose children attend Steamboat Springs, Hayden and South Routt schools.

For instance, parents were asked whether they had discussed with their children rules for using alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs not prescribed to them and other illegal drugs. Although a vast majority had spoken to their children about most issues at least once, the survey indicated that 25 percent of parents had never discussed the use of prescription drugs.

“It gives us an opportunity to address that and get more education out there about that,” Barron said. “When we’re deciding what areas to focus on, we look at areas like this.”

She added that the parent survey would be used to create Grand Futures programming along with results from a 142-question Healthy Kids Colorado survey of 852 county sixth- through 12th-graders conducted last year and a short survey of community members in the county, which was recently completed.

Barron said the survey indicated many things Grand Futures expected, such as the nearly 95 percent of parents who said they don’t allow drinking in their homes except for a few sips during a family or religious gathering.

Only two questions mirrored ones asked of students on the Healthy Kids Colorado survey, including one that asked about driving under the influence or riding with a person under the influence of alcohol or marijuana during the past 12 months. The other asked about bullying on school property in the previous year.

There was a disparity between the student and parent answers on both questions, especially in Steamboat, where fewer students reported never having driven while or riding with someone who was under the influence than their parents thought. A higher percentage of Steamboat students reported being bullied at school than what their parents perceived.

Barron said Grand Futures considered including more questions on the parent survey that were asked of students, but decided against it because they feared parents’ perceptions would be inaccurate.

Grand Futures Routt County Coordinator Kate Marshall said the organization worked closely with Denver-based OMNI Institute, which prepares the Healthy Kids Colorado survey, to develop the parent survey. She said the questions could change for future parent surveys.

Barron said Grand Futures was pleased with the survey.

“This is our first parent survey,” she said. “We certainly learned a lot from it. We’ll tailor it down the road. We definitely want to continue it.”

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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