The goal of the forum is to receive specific community needs to develop strategies for enhancing substance abuse treatment and prevention services. A report will be compiled based on community input and posted on the CAHSD website.
The forum will be held from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Capital Area Human Services District, located at 4615 Government Street, Building 2, Room 200, Baton Rouge. This event is open and free to the public.
The CAHSD serves the parishes of Ascension, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
Substance abuse causes more deaths, illnesses and disabilities than any other preventable health condition and is viewed as the nation’s number one health problem.
In the U.S., one in four deaths is attributed to alcohol, tobacco and illicit drug use. Substance abuse strains the healthcare system, burdens the economy, and harms family life and public safety.
Adolescents are beginning to use alcohol, tobacco and other drugs at younger ages and young adults are more likely to engage in heavy substance use than all other age groups.
According to the 2012 County Health Rankings Report for Louisiana, the rate of adults reporting smoking is 22% (Benchmark-14%), excessive drinking is 15% (Benchmark-8%), inadequate social support is 23% (Benchmark-14%), and poor or fair health is 19% (Benchmark-10%). The violent crime rate in the state is 676 per 100,000 (Benchmark-73 per 100,000).
The violent crime rate in the Baton Rouge community (10.9 per 1,000) is almost 3 times higher than the national median of 3.9 per 1,000.
The 2010 Caring Communities Youth Survey conducted in Louisiana for grades, 6, 8, 10 and 12, showed that in the CAHSD region, the rate of binge drinking ranged from 4.5 to 22.9% among students surveyed (highest in grade 12). Twelve percent of students in 12th grade indicated a need for alcohol and/or drug treatment. Students in the 12th grade who reported drinking and driving in the past 30 days was 13.8%.
Students who reported being suspended from school during the past year ranged 16.7-24.9% (highest in grade 8). Among sixth graders, the average age at initiating alcohol use and cigarette smoking was 10.7 years, and smoking marijuana was 11.7 years of age. Students who reported that they did not feel safe at school ranged 21.3-28.2% across the grades.
"We invite citizens, faith-based leaders, youth, parents, those in recovery and those seeking recovery, school leaders, businesses, judges, civic organizations, law enforcement, providers and government officials to attend the public forum to discuss the needs in our communities and join us to find solutions to address issues related to substance abuse," said Jan Kasofsky, Ph.D., CAHSD Executive Director.
The agenda will include a presentation of CAHSD’s key strategic initiatives and services, public discussion and comments, and an overview of the Office of Behavioral Health’s statewide initiatives.
A poster session will provide informational exhibits, and attendees will have an opportunity to dialogue with CAHSD’s behavioral health staff and other community professionals working in addiction recovery.
Capital Area Human Services District provides community-based services for mental health, developmental disabilities, and addictive disorders in the seven parish Capitol area.
For further details and information about the forum, please contact Vivian Gettys, Director of Prevention for Capital Area Human Services District at 225-922-2700 or e-mail at Vivian.Gettys@LA.gov.