West Van for Youth builds community in order to promote healthy choices and reduce youth substance use so our young people can grow into resilient and healthy adults.
Engaged community. Healthy youth. Bright futures.
We were established in 2011 as a part of the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative and we are funded by Washington State Health Care Authority. We are focused on reducing alcohol and marijuana use among youth in west Vancouver.
To understand community needs, we form data workgroups review local data from west Vancouver. We review location-specific data from the Annual Community Survey distributed to west Vancouver adults and the Healthy Youth Survey data distributed to middle and high school students in Washington, and relevant archival data. Topics reviewed related to the following:
Consequences – behaviors known to be associated with substance use
Consumption – measure of the number of youth using/consuming alcohol and other substances
Intervening Variables – characteristics that are strongly predictive or protective of underage drinking and substance use
Based on our review of the available data, the data work group recommended we focus our efforts on the following Risk and Protective Factors
Availability – Youth say alcohol and marijuana are easy to get
Friends use alcohol and marijuana
Perception that the community doesn’t think it is wrong for youth to drink alcohol
Youth don’t think drinking is wrong
Perception of Risk – Youth don’t think that regular alcohol use is risky
Parental attitudes tolerant of substance use
Early initiation of drugs
These priorities are supported by the quantitative findings. According to the 2018 Healthy Youth Survey, alcohol and marijuana are the most prevalent substances used among youth within the focus population. Therefore, we will continue efforts focused on reducing underage drinking in west Vancouver and additionally focus on reducing youth marijuana use.
West Van for Youth is funded by (1) Washington State Health Care Authority through the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative and (2) the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program.