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Regional Needs Assessment completed by the Prevention Resource Center 11 finds that prescription drug use is on the rise with alcohol and marijuana abuse continuing to be a strong trend among adolescents.

(Pharr, TX) – The Prevention Resource Center 11, a program of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, released its 2014 Regional Needs Assessment this past month of July. This comprehensive document provided organizations and communities in the counties of region 11 an overall report of statistics related to indicators of health, education, criminal behavior, mental health, socio-economic conditions, and substance use among adolescents and adults in the region. Findings included in the first part of this release are merely a small fragment of the wealth of information that was included in the assessment.

The Department of State Health Services Substance Abuse Services funds Prevention Resource Centers (PRCs) across the state of Texas. These centers are part of a larger network of youth prevention programs that provide direct prevention education to youth in schools and the community focused on improving the welfare of Texans by discouraging and reducing substance use. The PRC provides valuable resources to enhance and improve our state’s prevention services aimed to address our state’s three prevention priorities to reduce: (1) underage drinking; (2) marijuana use; and (3) non-medical prescription drug abuse.

Data found in the PRC11 Regional Needs Assessment includes:

Alcohol and marijuana continue to be abused and are not perceived as risky substances by adolescents in region 11. The data gathered through the Texas School Survey by the Prevention Resource Center indicated that only 54 percent of secondary students believe it is very dangerous to drink alcohol, and only 58.8 percent said it is very dangerous to use marijuana. “Drinking alcohol is a culture here… there are parties and people drink… it is expected in a sense”, said a young high school student that participated in one of PRC’s focus groups.

According to the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System about 17.4 percent of the population sampled in the region is at risk of falling into dangerous binge drinking behaviors. Moreover, focus groups conducted by PRC 11 with youth in the region yielded strong comments about the rise of pharm (pharmacology) parties in the region. “I have heard my friends talking about going to parties and mixing prescription drugs in a bowl and then spinning a bottle and whoever the bottle lands on has to take a bunch of pills and drink them with alcohol”, said a female adolescent when asked about the use of prescription pills by her fellow classmates in school.

The goal of the PRC 11 is to identify local community, county, and regional data resources that will provide access to information and maximize research and data-sharing to help deepen prevention efforts. An integral part of PRC’s prevention efforts consists of sharing data resources and disseminating information across the 19 counties of region 11 as well as providing technical assistance and guidance related to data collection efforts and research.

New partners are always welcomed! To find out more about the prevention work being done in your community and download the latest Regional Needs Assessment, please visit www.prc11.org. If you are interested in becoming part of this prodigious project and would like to be a part of the 2015 Regional Needs Assessment process, please contact Violeta Davila, Regional Evaluator, at 787-7111 Ext. 290, or Daniel Rodriguez, Program Coordinator, at 787-7111 Ext. 238.