Drug and alcohol abuse can affect a community in countless ways and that’s why the Erath County Community Coalition is taking measures to gather data for youth prevention.

“We’re going into the schools with a survey called the Texas Prevention Impact Index-Research, and it has questions that will give us a great data source,” said Marcus Cook, coalition coordinator. 

The surveys will provide the coalition with important information like where youth purchase drugs and alcohol.

“We need to check in with the convenience stores and say, ‘Hey is there some training we can help with? Because minors are getting alcohol from you guys and that’s against the law,’” he said.

The survey is given to sixth-12th graders and the plan is to get all schools in Erath County to participate and bring the data together in a report.

“The main thing about this is that it’s anonymous for the students,” Cook said. “And those schools aren’t going to feel like they’re being targeted or thrown out into the community.”

The results will be distributed to the schools so they can make improvements, as well.

The survey asks questions like: Do you plan to use marijuana/alcohol in the future? How easy is it for you to get? How would your parents feel?

“I’m really excited about it. I’m happy we’re getting data to work off of because if you don’t have anything then I could go up to you and say, ‘Hey we have an issue,’” Cook said. “But then I don’t have anything to back it up with other than saying, ‘These people told me’ - that’s not good enough.”

Lingleville, Morgan Mill, Three Way and some schools in Stephenville have already agreed to participate. 

“All of them have been really helpful and receptive to it,” Cook said. “This coalition is a process, you can’t try to do everything all at once and I’m happy that we have this because in the future it’s going to make it easier.”

The ECCC meets every second Monday of the month at the First Baptist Church and anyone is invited to attend.