In 1991, the City of Dothan and Houston County Commissions, concerned about substance abuse issues and their impact on crime in the area, brought together a panel of community leaders to conduct town-hall meetings that would allow all citizens the opportunity to express their opinions and concerns about substance abuse issues. The ideas and solutions put forth during these meetings became the basis for the formation of the Dothan-Houston county Substance Abuse Partnership in January of 1992.
The mission of the Dothan-Houston County Substance Abuse Partnership is to bring together all segments of the community in an effort to create a climate of intolerance for alcohol, tobacco, and other drug (ATOD) use in Dothan-Houston County. The specific goal of the Partnership is to create a sense of ownership of the problem by the community, and to involve as many citizens, young and old, in the development and implementation of solutions.
The Partnership has an operating budget of $130,000. There are five full-time and three part-time staff members, and more than 70 volunteers that serve on the Executive Board of Directors, Advisory Committee, and Community Coalition. The Partnership has more than 150 community partners who volunteer their services in the fight against substance abuse.
The Partnership serves primarily the Dothan-Houston County area with a population of 85,950. Achievements include: Recognition by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America for its grassroots approach to ATOD, received 2000 National Beacon Award for the Teen Talk Show, a collaboration with Comcast Cable, for its originality and content, and recognition by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving for town hall meetings on drinking and driving.
The Partnership implemented a new initiative to address an unmet need for Hispanic/ Latinos in the community. This initiative began June 2001 with a health fair for Hispanic/ Latino girls, age 9-14. This health fair provided youth with up-to-date information on health, dress, substance abuse, and related cultural issues. The Partnership also offers education and prevention programs to youth and adults in high-risk areas, which is another unmet need in the community. After school and summer programs are held for youth, and parent education is held for adults in the high-risk neighborhoods.
The Partnership has a user-friendly Community Awareness System that is a telephone-based system that can be assessed through a touchtone phone to anonymously obtain up-to-date information on substance abuse and related issues when they need it most. This system also collects data on the issues of concern among the callers, which is utilized in program development.