October 3, 2017 – Austin, TX –Texans Standing Tall today launched a new interactive tool for communities to identify alcohol and drug use prevention coalitions across the state. The tool, Engage for Community Change, was made possible in large part through a traffic safety grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
“Coalitions in Texas cities large and small are changing how communities respond to underage alcohol and other drug use and the negative consequences they cause. Texas is leading the way in helping coalitions explore and collaborate on the work their colleagues are doing across the state,” said TST Chief Executive Officer Nicole Holt. “Our goal is to help communities and coalitions leverage scarce resources for addressing problems in their communities that stem from underage alcohol and other substance abuse.”
More than 50 coalitions across the state are included in the interactive tool, which allows users to explore groups by a number of categories including community size and substance of focus, such as alcohol or prescription drugs. Surveys indicate that most young people get their alcohol at parties and in social settings. Coalitions have been integral to the passage of social host ordinances in El Paso, San Antonio, Palmview, and Odessa that hold people accountable for underage drinking parties that occur in their homes or on their property. Texas leads the nation in the number of drunk driving crashes. Coalitions can be instrumental in reducing that number.
Drunk driving among young adults and college students is a serious problem. In Texas, one-third of all alcohol-related fatalities involve a driver aged 25 and under. About 22 percent of college students say they’ve ridden in a car with a driver who was high or drunk. Often the “designated” driver is the person who had the least to drink; they are not actually a sober driver.
“In San Antonio, the Circles of San Antonio Community Coalition, a partner with Texans Standing Tall, worked hard to pass our social host ordinance in 2016,” said Circles of San Antonio Community Coalition Director Vickie Adams. “Our coalition is made up of volunteers—parents, young adults, and community members—who are working to build a safe and thriving community.”
“The new coalition search tool will help coalitions and community members find each other, and will give them opportunities to work together for the benefit of all Texans,” added TST Board President Sharon Goldblatt. “We know communities with similar goals can benefit from communicating and collaborating with one another.”
About Texans Standing Tall
TST is the statewide nonprofit organization that is actively working to create healthier and safer communities by using evidence-based strategies to prevent youth access to alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. As part of its work, TST supports coalitions in addressing underage alcohol consumption in their communities, resulting in statewide prevention impact.