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Substance Abuse Initiative begins in Stone, Taney counties

BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) – Substance abuse is something few like to talk about, let alone admit they’re struggling with, which makes it hard to address in certain communities. The Stone and Taney County Substance Abuse Initiative just rolled out a new tool to help assess the problem in that area.

The grant funded task force formed last year and has been working ever since to define the problem of substance abuse, and prevent it from growing. They’ve held a series of community summits to get vital feedback from residents.

Based on feedback gathered in those meetings, the group has identified alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana, and methamphetamine as top substances of concern. They’ve also identified some top risk factors that may lead to substance abuse, among those are low socioeconomic status and ease of access to alcohol.

“We are doing it more to be proactive. In all of the news across the nation so many states and communities are being hit with the opiod epidemic and substance abuse issues and we recognize that our community could be hit in the same way in the future, and we want to do something to keep that from happening,” said Marietta Hagan, Project Coordinator for CoxHealth Branson.

Now the Stone and Taney County Substance Abuse Initiative has just entered the last stage of research and they need your help. The group has launched an online survey that people in Stone and Taney counties can take anonymously to weigh in on areas of concern.

“One of our big focuses is evidence based, so we want to see some evidence-based programming be implemented in the schools and in the community programs that already exisit,” said Hagan.

“Though that is a slow process and it may take a couple of years to really see those numbers changing we can see how it’s impacting the community right when we start,” she explained.

If you live in Stone or Taney county and want to leave feedback, the survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SAISpring17 and will remain open through May 19. Links to the survey can also be found on SkaggsFoundation.org.

The Substance Abuse Initiative is made possible through the Skaggs Legacy Endowment. Since 2013, Skaggs Foundation has awarded more than $3 million through the Skaggs Legacy Endowment to area agencies dedicated to improving health and wellness in Taney and Stone counties. Skaggs Legacy Endowment is a restricted endowment fund made possible by a generous gift from CoxHealth. Funds are dedicated to improving access to health care, supporting healthy lifestyles, child and family safety, dental care, mental health and substance abuse. For more information about Skaggs Legacy Endowment or Skaggs Foundation, visit SkaggsFoundation.org.

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