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News / Health / Clark County Health

Wanted: adult perceptions about youth substance use in Vancouver

Group hopes survey helps improve youth services

By Wyatt Stayner, Columbian staff writer
Published: October 31, 2018, 6:02am

The West Van for Youth coalition has released a survey to gather perceptions on youth substance use from families and businesses located in west and central Vancouver ZIP codes 98660, 98661 and 98663.

Alaina Green, a prevention specialist with Clark County and a program coordinator for the West Van for Youth coalition, said the survey is designed to help the coalition better serve youth and families in west Vancouver and “track all of the work that our coalitions are doing.” She said the data can also be used by coalitions with which West Van for Youth collaborates.

“This information helps make sure that we are making change,” Green added.

The coalition — which is made up of students, individuals and public and private agencies — works to promote healthy choices and reduce substance misuse among youth. West Van for Youth is funded by the Washington State Health Care Authority. Clark County is the fiscal agent for the coalition.

The survey will also be used to create “positive norms” to be shared with the community. In 2014, a positive norm from a survey was that 91 percent of respondents believed that parents should talk about drug and alcohol use on a regular basis with their children. That data came from 1,300 households surveyed.

Take the Survey

• English version of the survey is at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLWEVAEN2018

• Spanish version of the survey is at: es.surveymonkey.com/r/CLWVSP2018

Adults can have misconceptions about youth substance use, according to Green. Sometimes adults might assume that other parents don’t regularly talk about drugs or alcohol with their kids, but once they see that many parents do take that step, they are more likely to consistently do so themselves.

The survey is for adults and is anonymous and voluntary. Responses will be kept confidential and reported only as aggregated data. Survey takers can decline to answer any question or stop the survey at any time. It takes around 10 minutes to complete.

Green said parents can find tips for talking to their child at www.samhsa.gov/underage-drinking.

West Van for Youth also holds a twice-yearly parent workshop called Guiding Good Choices to support parents who are attempting prevention conversations. The free, five-session program is for parents of children in fourth through eighth grade. It is designed to give parents skills to teach their children how to make healthy choices and establish expectations around substance use. The next session will be sometime in the spring, Green said.

For more information about West Van for Youth, contact Alaina Green, program coordinator, at 360-397-2130, ext. 5841 or alaina.green@clark.wa.gov.

Columbian staff writer