Laurens County was identified as having one of the highest driving under the influence (DUI) crash rates in South Carolina. With additional funding from the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services the Laurens County Prevention Coalition was formed In October of 2010 to reduce DUI crashes in Laurens County. Having built the capacity to address risk and protective factors the coalition continues to expand its focus to other areas of need related to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
The coalition’s vision is a community focused on the well-being of our residents and visitors. The mission statement is to foster a community where members are empowered to make positive choices. The values are accountability, decisions based on data and accurate information, ethical behavior, and inclusive community membership.
The coalition meets the third Wednesday of each month. Minutes are recorded of all meetings. The coalition functions under by-laws and has a formal conflict resolution policy. Additionally, members sign Coalition Involvement Agreements.
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Plan While You Can – In 2013 and 2014 93% of ADSAP clients surveyed did not make a plan or think ahead prior to drinking alcohol. In 2015 56% of ADSAP clients surveyed did not make a plan or think ahead prior to drinking alcohol.
The LCPC is currently working on a Plan While You Can public awareness campaign to encourage people to think ahead prior to drinking alcohol and make a plan not to drive after drinking.
Youth Suicide Prevention
From 2010 – 2014 Laurens County ranked 5th in the state for death by suicide (ages 10 -24). The LCPC is working with the South Carolina Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative to reduce the youth suicide rate in Laurens County.
Permanent Prescription Drug Drop Box Location
To decrease availability of or, access to someone else’s prescription drugs Gateway Counseling Center received one time funding from the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services to expand access to permanent prescription drug drop boxes in the county. In collaboration with the City of Laurens Police Department and the LCPC a permanent drug drop box was purchased and installed at the City of Laurens Police Department. A media campaign related to how to access and use the prescription drug drop box was conducted
DUI related outcomes as a result of Community Action for A Safer Tomorrow funding:
The first goal of the LCPC was to reduce the number of DUI crashes in Laurens County from 125 in 2010 to 112 in 2013. Utilizing evidenced based approaches including high visibility, best practice checkpoints, with public awareness campaigns, law enforcement training, multijurisdictional agreements and community education the coalition reduced the number of crashes from 125 to 97 which was 15 less than our original goal. The coalition also reduced the number of DUI fatalities in the county from 10 in 2010 to 6 in 2013. The first community survey administered by the coalition indicated that 52.6% didn’t think they would get cited or arrested if they drank and drove in Laurens County. In the follow-up survey administered 2 years later results show that now only 25.5% didn’t think they would get cited or arrested if they drank and drove.