Pratt Prevention Partnership is seeking members to help in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse.

It's an opportunity to fight drug and alcohol abuse in Pratt County. The Pratt Prevention Partnership is seeking coalition partners in this effort to get help to those in danger of getting hooked on drugs enrolled in a plan that will help them escape the drug cycle.

Andi Dean, PRMC community relations director, presented the program Aug. 2 to some 22 representatives from various organizations that she wants to work together on this persistent problem in Pratt County.

The Prevention Partnership needs members to accomplish its mission: prevent and reduce drug and alcohol abuse by connecting families with support systems for a safer, healthier community, Dean said.

Members in the coalition will commit to a one to three year position, attend from eight to 12 one-hour meetings a year and other task force/action team meetings as needed. They will help identify, select and promote prevention programs, access community needs, develop plans to carry out the mission, coordinate programs and resources, develop a mechanism for evaluating and monitoring the strategies.

Coalition members need to commit to improving the lives of county residents, have knowledge of the area and people, have a broad perspective, be enthusiastic and be resourceful.

There is strength in numbers and relationships and Dean wants the Partnership to include as many coalition partners as possible including youth, parents, medial, schools, law enforcement, civic groups, religious groups and more. There is strength in diversity and Dean wants all these connections.

Dean is working on a special $5,000 grant to get the Helping Kids Prosper program, a program aimed at getting parents and children working together to solve drug problems in the home. The program is for families with children ages 10 to 14 that are going through the court system in Pratt County.

This program is evidence based and the evidence proves that it succeeds. Both Pratt and Skyline school districts took part in the "Communities that Care Survey" so there are factual numbers to help make the program a success.

The Helping Kids Prosper program costs $6,020. Dean is applying for a South Central Community Foundation grant for $5,000 to cover the bulk of the cost. The Pratt County Commissioners have already dedicated $1,020 to cover the rest of the cost of the program, Dean said.

Dean would like to have the program mandatory and available through the court system. She is working with Pratt County Attorney Tracey Beverlin to make that happen. Right now, it's not feasible but Dean will continue to work with Beverlin to make it a reality.

While they continue to work on growing the partnership, there are activities to reduce drugs in the community. A drug "Take Back" day was established where people could turn in leftover unused drugs. The first event was Oct. 16, 2016 and 70 pounds were turned in. A second "Take Back" day was held in April 2017 and 74 pounds were turned in.

The Partnership has talked about doing a permanent "Take Back" box and they are looking at the hurdles to get that done.

Prevention Partnership grew out of a previous program: Solutions With Actions Together. The S.W.A.T. group started in 2012 after a meeting on how to battle the alcohol and drugs problem in Pratt.

The S.W.A.T. initials were a bit confusing and many thought this was a police organization so the name was changed to Pratt Prevention Partnership in December 2016.

@GaleR_Tribune