Substance abuse and addiction doesn’t just affect an individual, it affects an entire community and can have devastating outcomes. Community Coalitions have shown to be an effective way to prevent and reduce substance abuse in communities and the Winneshiek County ERASE Substance Abuse Coalition (www.winneshiekerase.com) is working to do just that.

Having engagement from all community sectors is important for a strong coalition. ERASE works to build and maintain relationships throughout the community including with alcohol retailers. The coalition encourages alcohol retailers to attend ERASE meetings because they play a vital role in the community with preventing substance abuse. Alcohol retailers can reduce youth access to alcohol by checking IDs and prevent over-intoxication in guests by not over serving.

Craft beer has become very popular in Northeast Iowa and it is important to know that craft beer generally has a higher alcohol content than standard domestic beers. The coalition recently partnered with Pulpit Rock Brewery and Luther College in Decorah to provide more education on this topic. A video was created which was filmed and edited by Luther College.

Thanks to the time invested from the brewery and Luther College, the ERASE coalition has been able to educate thousands of people on standard drink information, intoxication risk factors – which determine how quickly a person may become intoxicated, low risk drinking guidelines, and also busted through some myths about drinking. By working with partners like these, we are keeping our community a safer and healthier place for youth and families to live.

To learn more about Helping Services prevention work visit www.helpingservices.org/services/substance-abuse-prevention-services/

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