The Monroe County Alliance for Inhalant Prevention (MCAIP) stands as an excellent example of a community that has faced significant challenges with the SPF and has managed to overcome many of those challenges while maintaining fidelity to the SPF Model. Monroe County, a small, rural county with a population of 11,750,00 located on the Tennessee Kentucky border, was chosen as one of KentuckyÆs target counties for inhalants after the SEOW conducted its statewide needs and resource assessment in 2005.
The 2004 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) Survey revealed that students in the 10th grade in Monroe County schools reported having used inhalants within the last 30 days at rates more than 3 times the regional level, 3 ½ times the state level and just over seven times the national level. The survey also revealed that prevalence rates at every grade level surveyed (6, 8, 10 and 12) exceeded state and national levels.
Despite these alarmingly high rates of inhalant use, there was very little awareness of the problem within the community, and, prior to the SPF, no plans existed to target inhalants. At the outset of the SPF, the community was reluctant to accept inhalants as a serious problem, despite survey data, because the overall numbers were relatively small compared to alcohol and prescription drugs. Since relatively little research existed that provided guidance about ôevidence-based practicesö for community inhalant prevention, the coalition had to literally start from scratch.
This was an experience that Monroe County Coordinator Amy Hutchison compared to David vs Goliath, ôonly without the slingshot.ö Yet, the county demonstrated remarkable resourcefulness and creativity in developing strategies, and successfully navigated each of the 5 steps of the SPF model, overcoming challenges and achieving some momentous successes along the way.
The coalition made substantial gains in raising awareness and acceptance of inhalants as a problem in the community. And, they achieved some impressive outcomes including dramatic decreases in student inhalant abuse, and recognition of their efforts by national inhalant experts. The strategies that were developed by the Monroe County Alliance for Inhalant Prevention are now being replicated by other coalitions in Kentucky and other states.Additional Inhalant Prevention Resources:See Full Story ImageInhalant Prevention FlyerCommunity Readiness SurveyParent SurveyStudent Survey