Aug. 13, 2009
Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
ATLANTA - Georgia State University will help communities around the state with identifying and evaluating ways to help reduce alcohol- and drug-related accidents and fatalities, as well as to reduce the sale of alcohol to young people.
Georgia State's School of Social Work is the recipient of a $500,000 technical assistance contract from the Georgia Department of Human Resources, with the aim of conducting needs assessments, capacity building and planning for communities looking to start prevention programs, said James Wolk, professor of social work.
"The issue of alcohol- and drug-related traffic accidents among youth and adults is a significant problem not only in Georgia, but around the country," Wolk said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, alcohol was involved in 41 percent of vehicle crashes which resulted in death during 2007. In Georgia, alcohol and/or drug impairment was the fifth leading cause of fatal automobile crashes in 2006.
Underage alcohol use also remains a public health issue. According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 17 percent of youth ages 12 to 17 drank alcohol in the month before the survey, and 10 percent binged on alcohol.
Georgia State will use face-to-face meetings as well as online methods in helping communities with formulating their intervention programs, which will be aimed at addressing environmental strategies to reduce underage sales and traffic fatalities, including policy, law enforcement, and other methods, rather than education alone.
Needs assessment, capacity building and planning will all take local factors into account, Wolk said, and intervention programs will be evidence-based.
People involved in partnerships on the local level - from metropolitan to rural areas -- can include law enforcement, drug prevention agencies, and schools, among other organizations.
Georgia's overall grant, of which Georgia State is a contractor, is provided through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.