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  • Human-Services-Department
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Substance Education and Awareness

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On Nov. 17, 2015 council approved a motion to authorize the city manager to release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for integrated substance abuse prevention education programs, including recreational marijuana, aimed at children, youth and families. Research and development of the program resulted in the following goals, principles and desired outcomes for the Substance Education and Awareness (SEA) Program. SEA is funded by Ordinance 7916, an excise and sales and use tax on recreational marijuana to offset some of the indirect costs of recreational marijuana.

SEA Program Funding Purpose

Develop and implement community-wide information and educational programs, with a consistent message for children, youth, families and the community related to the impacts of drug/alcohol use on children and youth.

Desired SEA Program Outcomes

  • Widespread community distribution and awareness of information and programs developed;
  • Shift community perceptions of risk associated with substance use, including the impact of drugs, alcohol, recreational marijuana, and abuse of prescription medications on children, youth; 
  • Prevent/reduce youth abuse of alcohol and recreational drugs including marijuana; and
  • Reduce accidental ingestion of marijuana and other drugs.

In May, 2016, the Boulder County Community Services Healthy Futures Coalition (HFC) was selected to implement SEA through an RFP process. A Contract for services was executed with Boulder County Community Services Healthy Futures Coalition as SEA backbone organization, on June 1, 2016. 

HFC coalition partners are developing consistent, community-wide messaging to be implemented in combination with evidence-based interventions including:

  • Implementation of a safe storage campaign for all substances, designed to reach adults and retailers;
  • Break the Cycle peer-based group intervention to prevent initiation of injection drug use;
  • Implementation of evidence-based Effekt program in two middle schools;
  • Implementation of evidence-based Sources of Strength program in five middle schools;
  • Expansion of promising practice TOP curriculum and health promotion activities with Latino youth in one middle school;
  • Training in substance abuse prevention and positive youth development for all YMCA staff, coaches and volunteers;
  • First Friday social activities for youth, and service learning projects for middle school youth; and
  • Physical activity for youth at risk of substance abuse.

Because changing community perceptions and behavior is a long-term process, the SEA contract with HFC is a term of five years, with funding contingent on annual budget approval by City Council and achievement of annual program benchmarks and outcomes. Modifications to the project may be made annually.

Status and Potential Next Steps

  • Kickoff meeting with coalition partners, City of Boulder HS staff, Boulder County Public Health and Healthy Futures Coalition. - September 2016
  • First quarterly report from Boulder County Public Health and Healthy Futures Coalition on the progress of 8 subcontractors/12 programs completed. – Third Quarter 2016
  • Independent evaluator, OMNI Institute, contracted through a Request for Proposal bid process to track individual and joint efforts of the SEA project. - Fourth Quarter 2016
  • Healthy Futures Retreat- Strategic planning meeting with over 30 collaborators to identify and review shared indicators across HFC and SEA. – October 2016
  • Kickoff meeting with evaluator and project team. - November 2016
  • Written evaluation plan and data dashboard developed. - December 2016
  • First year Report from HFC. – January 2017
  • First annual report from independent evaluator. – September 2017

Council Action

  • January 2017 – Information Packet, Program Update
  • Fourth Quarter 2017 – Council Check-In, Annual Report

Staff Contact

Matt Sundeen, Community Programs Manager, [email protected] , 303-441-1913.


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