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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Alt Contact:  Priscilla Lisicich, Chair, Governor's Council on Substance Abuse, 253-272-9586

Gov. Gary Locke Applauds Substance Abuse Council for Prevention Strategies

Gov. Gary Locke credited the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse for its prevention strategies to protect kids from alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse in the first in a series of biennial reports released today.

The report shows smoking, drinking and other drug use are down among Washington youth and pregnant women. It also finds that too few young people see drugs as harmful or believe their communities discourage drug use.

“The council’s report shows where we stand in protecting our kids from alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and sets targets for the future,” Locke said. “It will help parents, teachers, community leaders and concerned citizens measure the effectiveness of our prevention strategies in the future.”

Twelve state agencies shared research and statistics on young people’s health, safety, social integration and skill building to produce the report. The agencies looked at the risk factors that research has shown contribute to alcohol and drug use and the protective factors that help young people stay drug-free. The agencies then set goals and targets that will enable citizens to measure progress.

For each goal, the report recommends ways that families, schools and communities can help youth deal with risks in their lives and develop the skills and positive relationships needed to grow into healthy and competent adults.

“I’m proud of Washington’s collaborative approach to preventing drug abuse,” Locke said. “By working together, state agencies and their local partners can focus available funding on effective programs. Keeping our kids off drugs isn’t just government’s job – it’s a job we all share.”

The report, “Substance Abuse Prevention Progress in Review,” will be updated every two years. The council includes state and local officials and citizens appointed by the governor to make policy recommendations on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Among the major findings in the report:

Good News:

· Use of alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana declined from 2000 to 2002 for students in all grades 6 through 12;
· The percentage of 10th and 12th graders who rode a car whose driver had been drinking dropped between 1992 and 2002;
· Increasing percentages of 6th through 12th graders report that they feel safe at school;
· Increasing percentages of 8th through 12th graders report that they feel a commitment to school; and
· Washington is among the top states in the nation for student reading scores, with significant increases from 1998 to 2002.

Bad News:

· Use of alcohol and illegal drugs contributed to nearly 4,000, or 9 percent, of all deaths in Washington in 2001;
· Fewer 6th through 12th graders reported having opportunities for pro-social involvement in their communities in 2002 than in 2000; and
· The percent of 6th graders who reported feeling a commitment to school dropped between 2000 and 2002.

The governor commended the Council on Substance Abuse and the citizens and state employees who worked on this prevention initiative. The council is chaired by Dr. Priscilla Lisicich of Tacoma, director of the Pierce County Safe Streets Campaign. Its standing committee on prevention is co-chaired by Linda Thompson, director of the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council, and Glenn Dunnam, chief of staff to the lieutenant governor.

Staff support to the council, which was established by executive order in 1989, comes from the Department of Community, Trade, and Economic Development. The Department of Social and Health Services also provided staff and publication assistance.

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