The coalition also is sharing with parents how to deal with stress and anxiety related to COVID-19, through its website, www.fairfieldcoalition.org, and social media, Neyer said.
Schools have been out since the week of March 17, only pandemic-licensed child care facilities can remain open as of Thursday, and DeWine Administration orders have mandated Ohioans stay at home in social isolation and keep six feet apart in public.
Traditional prevention programming is being discarded during this time of social distancing and isolation, and Neyer said she and others within the drug prevention field need to look at the new risk factors. Risk factors include untreated mental health issues, access to prescription drugs and alcohol — and in some cases access to the harder drugs — and boredom.
Neyer said it’s been difficult to engage parents but hope with their increase digital activity, such as keeping closer tabs with friends and family on social media, and remote work from home.
Neyer said parents engagement improved with February’s inaugural “Celebrate Youth!” that showcased the coalition’s student groups, and hopes they can build on this “special opportunity we have with parents.”
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”We have this momentum with engaging parents, so how can we keep this going,” she said.
This weekend, Neyer said the Fairfield Prevention Coalition will tackle access to alcohol and prescription drugs in the home. Later videos “will be drilling down on the 40 developmental assets which are protective factors through relationships with our kids that we build into them.”
To keep students on track with drug prevention practices, all members of the freshman and high school student coalition are contacted daily to share coping skills, said Pat VanOflen, of the Fairfield Prevention Coalition. Parents of middle school students are emailed weekly, she said.
VanOflen will also start journaling daily during this period of social isolation, but “most of all I think we need to be flexible to what changes are occurring daily and then help them to help others in their social network to adapt in a positive way.”