Bucks Promise for Youth and Communities

Bucks Promise for Youth and Communities



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Editorial recently published in the Intelligencer on Feb 6, 2015

Bucks Promise for Youth and Communities is a consortium of organizations, agencies and coalitions who have mobilized around a mission of strengthening our communities, with an emphasis on the prevention and reduction of substance abuse, particularly amongst youth. The concept of working together on this important topic grew out of the President’s Summit for America’s Future in 1997. At that time, Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter and Ford (with Nancy Reagan representing President Reagan), along with numerous governors, mayors, and community delegations challenged America to make children and youth a national priority. The America’s Promise Alliance was formed and included Five Promises that communities would make to young people to assure their success in life. Following the Summit, in the year 2000, local county leaders including county commissioners, district judges, school superintendents, representatives from the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission, Inc. and numerous business leaders decided to bring this concept to Bucks County.  

Since that time, Bucks Promise for Youth and Communities (BPYC) has evolved and grown, but has always prioritized the importance of prevention in safeguarding our young people from the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The recently released 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey, an annual study of teen behavior conducted by the University of Michigan, revealed that prevention efforts by coalitions and collaborative efforts such as Bucks Promise are yielding positive outcomes. Alcohol, tobacco and all drug use with the exception of marijuana and e-cigarettes have decreased among teens. These results have been attributed to on-going evidence-based community prevention efforts. Most of the organizations who attend the monthly meetings work in partnership with many sectors of our local communities, including schools, hospitals, law enforcement, faith-based groups, etc. so that the dissemination of information and sharing resources is maximized. The group discusses such topics as current drug trends, grant availability, and evidence-based programs which have proven effective in reducing drug use. Guest speakers target specific areas of interest, suggested by the members.

Most recently, Bucks Promise members have worked together through participation in the National Drug Take Back Days, a partnership between the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), law enforcement, and community groups. Additionally, members of BPYC have assisted in providing permanent medication collection boxes in police departments, municipal buildings, and the Bucks County courthouse.  Bucks Promise originally embarked on the Take Back initiative in an effort to prevent prescription drug misuse among youth as well as to protect the environment. Research shows that one out of every four teens admits to misusing prescription painkillers, and EPA studies have detected pharmaceuticals in the water supply. The Bucks County Medication Take Back Committee, formed as a subcommittee of Bucks Promise, has been working to reduce these statistics.

In an effort to reach more organizations, businesses, and residents of Bucks County, the consortium is pleased to announce that we will be providing regular op-eds in this newspaper, following this introductory article. We look forward to sharing with the public relevant information, data, and discussion points related to the prevention of drug and alcohol use by our youth. We hope that through this increased communication, we can bring more individuals and groups to the table, to work together on these critically important issues in all of our Bucks County communities.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Congressman Michael Fitzpatrick Meets with District Anti-Drug Advocates

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) met with leading prevention advocates in the nation’s capital this week to focus on drug-free community initiatives and continue his support for community anti-drug groups locally.

“When it comes to the health and safety of our communities, there is nothing more important than a clear understanding of the challenges we face and direct plan to overcome them,” said Fitzpatrick. “That’s why it’s critical that I am on the same page as groups like CADCA. Its member coalitions and my constituents are a valuable asset in ensuring I am doing everything I can on the federal level to defeat substance abuse and support prevention efforts in Bucks and Montgomery counties.”

Fitzpatrick, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, has been a vocal leader in supporting the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and local efforts to get drugs off the streets. CADCA is the national member-based organization representing coalitions working to make America’s communities safe, healthy and drug-free. CADCA's mission is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.

"An important part of making a difference in our community is having a relationship with your elected leaders – especially your congressman,” said Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth (CRCHY) members Samantha Lavelle, Stephanie Krauss, Cassandra Bryant, and Sarah Foisy following their visit. “The connection we have with Congressman Fitzpatrick is a valuable one as we seek to prevent substance abuse in our schools and in our community. He is a strong supporter of our work and we are very grateful for his constant support."

Other organizations meeting with Fitzpatrick included Bucks Promise for Youth and Communities (BPYC), New Hope-Solebury Cares, and Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

“The individuals involved with CADCA and the crusade for drug-use awareness and drug-free communities represent the best of what our district has to offer – caring and committed people looking to make a difference in their own neighborhoods,” added Fitzpatrick. “It is a pleasure to work side by side with with them and I am proud of their continued effort.”

Fitzpatrick is a recipient of CADCA’s Congressional Leadership Award in recognition of his sustained commitment to championing the cause of community-based substance abuse prevention and has previously addressed the organization’s National Leadership Forum. On his website, Fitzpatrick includes information about prescription drug drop-off boxes to ensure that expired or unused drugs stay out of the wrong hands.