MANSFIELD, OH — The Richland County Youth Substance Use Coalition (RCYSUC) currently has three different committees working together to reduce youth substance use. One of those committees is the Data & Evaluation Committee. This committee collects data, analyzes it, and helps guide the rest of the coalition’s work.
The committee collected information and demographics from Richland County residents using surveys attached to free Deterra drug disposal pouches. General findings were:
- The average age of respondents was 57. The ages ranged from 17 to 97.
- 78.6% of respondents were White, 14% of respondents were Black, 5.3% did not answer the question, and 2.1% were Hispanic/Latino or other.
- 66.7% of respondents were female, 30% were male, and 3.3% did not answer the question.
- 62.6% of respondents said the pouch was easy to use, 35.4% did not answer the question, and only 2.1% said the pouches were hard to use.
- The majority of medicines disposed with these pouches were non-narcotic medicines (43%). 25.7% of respondents were not sure what type of medications they would dispose of while 15.6% said a combination of over the counter medicines, narcotics, non- narcotics, and vitamins. 9.7% said over the counter only. 4.5% said narcotics only. The remaining 1.5% disposed of vitamins only.
“Nearly half (46.3%) of respondents said the pouches prompted them to clean out their medicine cabinets,” said Gurpinder Deol, Health Educator at Richland Public Health. “Cleaning out medicine cabinets of unused and expired medications goes a long way in reducing the availability of drugs for misuse.”
“Disposing safely isn’t just beneficial for people. Pets can ingest medicines not meant for them, especially if they are thrown away in the trash. We advise using a Deterra pouch or taking medicines to a local drop box instead,” Deol added. The committee plans to regularly collect data from students to help inform future funding, programming, and help community partners enhance their services. The committee also hopes to regularly collect additional information from community members at different events and gatherings to better understand how it can help prevent and reduce substance use.
The Data & Evaluation Committee has members located throughout Richland County. Members include Crystal Weese from the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, James Owens from Dr. Jam’s Cuts, and Stan Rust and Valerie Rust from Starfish. It also has consultants from TTJ Group and the Kent State Research and Evaluation Bureau providing input to help guide the group.
RCYSUC consists of many local community partners all working towards the same mission: To empower Richland County youth, families and the community to reduce youth substance use through education, intervention and prevention.
RCYSUC is always looking for new members, community partners, and especially youth to join and get involved. If you’d like to join a committee, the coalition, or simply would like to volunteer when you can, consider reaching out. Please call 419-774-4754 or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/RCYSUC to learn more and engage with us.
The Coalition’s work is funded through a Drug-Free Communities grant which is administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and is managed by Richland Public Health.