The Coalition, Sheriff’s, and NEO collaborate to educate students about underage drinking

Local Middle and High School students learn more reasons to say “No Thanks” to alcohol and drugs.

Nevada County Sheriff Brandon Corchero

The Coalition, the Sheriff’s Department, and NEO are collaborating in a series of interactive school presentations about underage drinking consequences, reasons to choose a drug and alcohol free lifestyle and local fun events and activities.With the help of ABC funding, the Sheriff’s Department is focusing on education, prevention and compliance enforcement to reduce youth access to alcohol and underage drinking. The funding also allows them a unique opportunity to collaborate with the Coalition in outreach and education presentations for local students.

On March 11th the presentation at Pleasant Valley School in Penn Valley opened with Sargent Sam Brown and Deputy Brandon Corchero sharing a sound-effect filled slide show for the attending 8th graders from Pleasant Valley School in Penn Valley. Students learned that law enforcement officers often go undercover at places where alcohol is sold. They also learn that if they have an incident with alcohol as a minor they jeopardize something very important to them;  their ability to have a drivers license.  They also learn that arrests are made for adults purchasing or providing alcohol to a minor and merchants face fines and can lose their license selling alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

Prevention Advocate Melissa Kelley

Lynn Skrukrud, Coalition Youth Outreach Coordinator and founder of NEO joined the presentation and began by showing NEO’s video of drug and alcohol free events and activities. Lynn shared:  “NEO represents a ‘new’ way of thinking around living a healthy lifestyle. We are a new generation of youth that choose not to use drugs. We are committed to providing safe and healthy alternatives such as dances, concerts, movie nights, BMX events. Lynn also told the students about NEO’s goal to open a Teen Center that would include an after school program, weekend events, meeting space, workshops, field trips, job training and more.Wrapping up presentation was the Coalition who engaged students in an interactive Q & A session designed to highlight the positive choices teens make and dispel misperceptions of use. Arming students with the truth: Most Teens Don’t use drugs and alcohol. Students enthusiastically engaged in a pop-quiz question: What percentage of Nevada County teens say they’ve never smoked marijuana? The response from the young audience was energetic as they learned that

The Truth Is…73% of Nevada County teens say they’ve never smoked marijuana. 
The Truth Is
… 98% of Nevada County teens say they respect their friends who choose not to drink.

The young audience answered questions and jumped at the chance to have an open discussion about youth substance use as “No Thanks” t-shirts were handed out in addition to mood pencils and bracelets. The hope following these presentations is that youth will be better armed with the truth and have a better sense of the healthy alternatives available to them.


Welcome to a New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! We had a great turnout on Wednesday, January 9th our first Steering Committee Meeting of 2013. The Coalition  would  like to thank all those in attendance for their hard work and commitment to youth in our community.  Special thanks to Project HEART who came to share their vision for the future  and talk about the ways for community members in recovery to make an impact through volunteerism and a variety of community service projects that the group has undertaken. Another thanks to NEO for kicking off the new year in full swing and sharing with the Steering Committee some of their community service project – Youth On a Mission, this Friday’s NEO Rock Concert and more upcoming events.

Here are some dates to mark your calendar with this season…


  • Friday, January 18th  at 7:00pm; Miners Foundry Nevada City  – NEO Concert at the Foundry
  • Tuesday, January 22nd at 2:00pm; The Campus – Town Hall Planning Meeting: Outreach Committee (Call us if you would like to help 530.273.7956)
  • Saturday, January 26th at 1:00pm; Union Hill School – Youth On a Mission



  • Saturday, March 2nd – Kenny Steel Songwriter Showcase
  • Wednesday, March 13th at 3:00pm;The Campus – Steering Committee Meeting
  • Saturday, March 16th ; Coffee Roasters – NEO Concert


  • Thursday, April 18th at 3:00pm; Holiday Inn Express – Town Hall Report Card to Community Presentation
  • Friday, April 19th ; Miners Foundry, Nevada City  – NEO Fashion Show



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Arm Them With the Truth

There’s a battle going on, in our world, for our teenagers futures… so we arm them with the truth: MOST of them don’t use drugs and alcohol. The numbers overwhelmingly support this truth.

. . . that more than 60% of Nevada County teens report NOT smoking marijuana in the past 30 days – that’s awesome!

. . . that MOST teens say they RESPECT their friends who choose not to drink alcohol or use drugs.

. . . that when MOST teens say they don’t need alcohol to have a good time, they aren’t kidding. Most teens choose NOT to drink.

In this new year the Coalition  for a Drug Free Nevada County  is committed to changing our students’ perceptions about their peers drug/alcohol use… we want them to see that the truth is… NOT everyone’s doing it. Many students tell us their friends don’t pressure them to drink or use… but just in case they find themselves thinking… “Hey, what’s the big deal? Everyone’s does it” … we want them to know the truth and be free to be drug-free… running head-on into bright and promising futures.

The Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County would also like to recognize the amazing volunteer work of community members who are generously giving their time to youth safe havens such as the Hangout and Overtime which provide a safe and positive environment for youth. The youth safe havens are collaborative partnerships between the Coalition and faith-based community members from Grace Lutheran Church (the Hangout) and New Covenant Baptist Church (Overtime). While the Coalition has provided equipment and supplies, the key to the success of these programs is in the volunteers who host, organize, and mobilize community members to operate and promote the safe havens.

The Hangout: An afternoon hotspot for high school students to spend time with friends, meet new people, do homework, and participate in activities like pool, air hockey, ping pong, foosball, etc. Serving about 50 students each school day, the Hangout provides snacks, beverages, and a supportive environment for high school students. Grace Lutheran Church: 1979 Ridge Road, Grass Valley (right next to Nevada Union High School)

For more information on volunteering and/or making a donation contact Pat or Gary Novak at 530.273.0932

Overtime:  A Friday night favorite for local youth from 6th grade through high school. This “open gym” environment provides the youth with a variety of action packed activities to kick off the weekend with volleyball, ping pong, basketball, dancing, music, age-appropriate interactive game consoles, and much more.  Park Avenue Center – 140 Park Avenue, Grass Valley, CA 95945

For more information on volunteering and/or making a donation contact Randy Fields at 530.277.7166

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Caring Community May Help Reduce Teen Alcohol Use, Study Suggests

By Join Together Staff | January 10, 2013

Teens who live in a caring community may be less likely to abuse alcohol than their peers who report fewer positive experiences in their community, a new study suggests. Spending time with antisocial peers can increase the risk of alcohol abuse, researchers from Penn State report.

The researchers evaluated risk factors for adolescent alcohol abuse, including antisocial attitudes and behaviors, associating with antisocial peers, and family risk, ScienceDaily reports. They also looked at positive factors such as community experiences, school experiences and family strengths. They examined results for more than 200,000 students, to determine how these factors predicted alcohol use.

In the American Journal of Public Health, the researchers reported family and school protective factors had less influence than other factors, when all were considered together.

“We found that when you put all of the major risk and protective factors into the same predictive model, certain risk factors, such as antisocial peer risk, tended to be more highly predictive of alcohol use than other factors like positive school experiences,” researcher Damon Jones said in a news release.

The study concludes positive experiences in the community can help minimize the link between risk factors and underage drinking.

Parental Monitoring Can Help Overcome Teens’ Genetic Predisposition to Drinking

By Join Together Staff | November 9, 2012 |  Alcohol, Parenting, Research & Youth

Parents who closely monitor their teens’ behavior and friends can help counteract their children’s genetic predisposition to an alcohol use disorder, a new study indicates.

In a previous study, lead researcher Robert Miranda, Jr. of Brown University found teens with a single difference in their genes were more predisposed to alcohol use disorders, according to HealthCanal. In the new study, Miranda found this risk was largely overcome in teenagers whose parents closely monitored their behavior, and who spent less time with ‘deviant’ friends.

The study included 104 teens, who were interviewed about their alcohol use, parental monitoring and friends. They also provided a DNA sample for genetic analysis. The researchers report in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research that 30 of the teens had the genetic variant that increased their risk of an alcohol use disorder. “The key finding of this study is that while genetics appear to play a role in the development of alcohol problems among teenagers, environmental factors can considerably reduce this risk,” Miranda said in a news release.

“If you are a parent, pay closer attention to your child’s whereabouts, and with whom your kids are affiliating socially, both of which can pay enormous dividends in reducing problems,” added John F. Kelly, Associate Director of Massachusetts General Hospital-Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine. “Beginning an open and ongoing conversation with your child along these lines, including discussing the nature of alcohol-specific risks, could eradicate a potentially devastating problem.”

We Can all Play a Role in Preventing Impaired Driving

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month and the Coalition is committed to raising awareness and promoting responsible decision making by young people and adults.

The most powerful advocates for responsible decision making by young people are parents, educators, and community leaders who work with young people every day.  It’s important for parents and other caring adults to talk with teens about the risks and dangers of drugged, drunk or any impaired driving and to set clear expectations–and act as good role models.

Research tells us that younger drivers are particularly susceptible to the hazards of driving while impaired. Teens are the least experienced group of drivers and when this lack of experience is combined with the use of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, or other substances – which alter perception, cognition, reaction time, and other faculties – the results can be tragic.

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Facts about Teen and Adult Impaired Driving:

  • Locally, more than 35 percent of teens in grade 9 and 11 reported they had driven a car after drinking alcohol, or been in a car driven by a friend when they had been drinking.
  • Nationally, more than six percent of youth aged 16 or 17 drove after taking drugs, and 30 percent of high school seniors report driving after drinking heavily or using drugs, or riding in a car whose driver had been drinking heavily or using drugs, at least once in the prior two weeks.
  • There has been progress in recent years with the number of drunk driving-related deaths in California dropping to record lows and the number of people that reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs n the past year decreased 4.2 percent from the rate in 2010.
  • The California Office of traffic safety conducted a roadside survey and 14 percent of drivers surveyed tested positive for drugs and found that drugs that can affect driving were found in one of every seven weekend nighttime drivers in California. The survey results released by the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) showed more drivers tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.

All of us have the power to effect change. In our homes and our community we can engage our youth and discuss the consequences of driving while impaired by anything and of drug or alcohol abuse. In our clinics and hospitals, health care providers can redouble their efforts to recognize patients with substance abuse problems and offer medical intervention.

As we come together with our loved ones this holiday season, let us renew our commitment to drive safely, act responsibly, and live drug-free.

Read entire press release from the Office of Traffic Safety HERE.

Drive Safe this Holiday Season

The Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County and the Grass Valley Police Department would like to remind you to commit to keep our community safe this holiday season, don’t drink and drive.  Always have a designated driver, call a friend or a cab.

The good news is that there has been a steady decline in the rate of alcohol-related deaths on the nation’s highways during the holidays. Statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that in 1982, there were more than 2,600 deaths due to drinking and driving — accounting for 60 percent of all accident fatalities. Recent years, however, have witnessed about 1,200 fatalities, or roughly 40 percent.

Take Steps To Protect Yourself And Others

Even with the steady decline in fatalities, the number of drivers with DWI arrests is on the rise. It is estimated that there are as many as two million drunk drivers with three or more convictions and more than 400,000 with five or more DWI convictions still behind the wheel. Here are five steps you can take to help avoid becoming a statistic:

1. If you drink, don’t drive no matter how little you think you’ve had.

2. Don’t let someone you know get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.

3. Avoid driving during early and late evening hours on holidays.

4. If you must drive, be cautious and watch for the erratic movements of drunken drivers.

5. Immediately report suspected drunk drivers to the police.

Drinking & Driving Facts:

  • Deaths from drinking and driving spike around the holidays, with alcohol being blamed for about 52 percent of fatal collisions on Christmas and 57 percent on New Years compared to a rate of 41 percent for the entire year.
  • More than 1,200 alcohol-related deaths will occur on the road this holiday season
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 25,000 people will be injured in alcohol related incidents.
  • One in three people will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetime.
  • Teen alcohol use kills about 6000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens and one out of three of those is alcohol related.
  • Drunk driving costs each adult in this country almost $500 per year.

Take the Pledge: Commit to not serve alcohol to youth!

Did you know that 96% of Nevada County youth think it is relatively easy to get alcohol?

It’s up to us to change that! Take the Pledge and commit to not serve alcohol to minors.

Just click the link, it will only take 30 seconds of your time, but it can make a world of difference in keeping our youth safe.

For more information, tips and a guideline on how to talk to your kids about alcohol follow the link, COMMITTED Campaign Info

SBIRT Training Info

SBIRT Registration Form_Nevada County_Dec 8th

Upcoming Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Training:

Community Recovery Resources, UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County partner again this year to provide free SBIRT Training at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital for physicians and other medical and healthcare professionals.

The free training offers 5.5 hours of CME credits and includes breakfast and lunch

When: December 8th from 9 – 4
Where: SNMH Outpatient Center, 2nd Floor Conference Rooms

To Register: fax registration form to Grant Hovik, UCLA at: (310)312-0538 or by phone: 310)267-5408 or email to:
Registration form available for download at:
For more information contact: Shelley Rogers: Email: or phone (530)273-9541 ext. 220

An Ounce of Prevention:  Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment is an early intervention strategy designed to identify those who present for medical or behavioral healthcare that are at particular risk due to alcohol or drug misuse or abuse. For example, those presenting with an injury, illness or behavioral health problem related to substance use or misuse may respond well at this teachable moment to motivation for change. This early intervention approach represents a paradigm shift in the provision of treatment for substance use and abuse. Research has amply proven that substance abuse is an underlying cause of multiple health problems, leading to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver problems, and even osteoporosis and damage to the nervous system. By screening and intervening before the problem is acute—the primary goal of SBIRT—these resultant health problems, as well as myriad social ramifications, can be mitigated or avoided.

Screening quickly assesses the severity of substance use and identifies the appropriate level of treatment.  Brief intervention focuses on increasing insight and awareness regarding substance use and motivation toward behavioral change. Referral to treatment provides those identified as needing more extensive treatment with access to specialty care. The explicit goals of SBIRT, as identified by SAMHSA, are to increase access to care for those with substance use disorders and those at risk of substance use disorders; foster a continuum of care by integrating prevention, intervention, and treatment; and improve linkages between health care services and alcohol/drug treatment services.

Worth a Pound of Cure: SBIRT research has shown that large numbers of individuals at risk of developing serious alcohol or other drug problems may be identified through primary care screening. According to SAMHSA, interventions such as SBIRT have been found to decrease the frequency and severity of drug and alcohol use, reduce the risk of trauma, and increase the percentage of patients who enter specialized substance abuse treatment. In addition to decreases in substance abuse, screening and brief interventions have also been associated with fewer hospital days and fewer emergency department visits. Cost-benefit analyses and cost-effectiveness analyses have demonstrated net-cost savings from these interventions.

Billable: Billing codes allow practitioners to be reimbursed for providing SBIRT services. Reimbursement for screening and brief intervention is available through commercial insurance, Medicare and Medicaid.