» DAVID MARQUEZ
Soon after taking the position of executive director of the Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition (CVDAPC) earlier this year, I was asked by many of my friends, “Why Crescenta Valley? I didn’t know there was a drug and alcohol problem there. Why did it receive a Drug Free Communities grant?”
I have told my friends that while we all know there is a problem of youth substance abuse across the nation, many choose to ignore it. The difference in the Crescenta Valley is that community leaders have chosen to pull the curtain back, honestly view what’s going on with the local youth and proactively confront the issue of substance abuse.
Our youth are not immune to the encroachment of drugs into our community. There is no moat built around our borders. In our community, rather than carry out separate efforts we have chosen to form a coalition of diverse individuals and organizations to address this issue by advocating policies that serve to reduce the opportunities that foster youth alcohol and drug abuse.
Although there is much to envy about the quality of life in the Crescenta Valley – model schools, a low crime rate – recent surveys from California Healthy Kids indicate that middle school students and high school students do not perceive frequent alcohol and marijuana use as harmful at the same rate as in previous years. Certainly, the arrival
of the Drug Free Communities grant will provide us an opportunity to strengthen the CVDAPC’s ability to counter this alarming trend among our youth.
This grant will not put more officers on the street or fund more prosecutors to help us put more dealers out of business. It will, however, help us engage more youth and their families in the effort to build a safer and healthier Crescenta Valley. As a result, the CVDAPC will be able to increase
outreach efforts in the form of workshops, speakers and educational events, allowing us as a community to achieve the goal of greater awareness, while also providing parents and teens the practical tools for combating this modern American problem that knows no boundaries.
David Marquez is the executive director of CVDAPC. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org