Monday, May 16, 2011

HB 2014 would create some funding for school-based prevention-intervention services

Seattle high schools have little, if any, substance abuse prevention-intervention services. Federal dollars that used to fund Prevention-Intervention Specialists (PI) in our schools were eliminated a few years ago. Since then, high schools have had to rely on state funding which, in Seattle, now pays for two PIs for our entire district, and help from community agencies.

A bill (HB 2014) that was introduced to the Washington State legislature this spring would provide some additional funding for school-based prevention-intervention services and the state’s Community Mobilization program. HB 2014 (Concerning liquor license fees) is still pending a hearing in House Ways & Means. The bill would stop liquor license fees from expiring, increase the fees, and funnel that money toward youth substance abuse prevention and intervention activities in communities.

As legislators get down to budget business there will be added pressure to try and find new revenue that would help avert a number of harmful social service cuts. Now would be an excellent time to remind legislators about the June 30, 2011 sunset on various liquor license fees and the legislature’s ability to extend (and even modestly increase) those fees for prevention purposes! Absent a strong grass roots push for this bill there is not much political will to advance HB 2014 (given a general reluctance to pass fee legislation this session).

One of our NE Seattle representatives, Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney, is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and you may email her about the need for substance abuse prevention-intervention services in our schools. (You will be able to email copies of your message to Rep. Frockt and Senator White, too.) If you do not live in NE Seattle, you may contact your Representative, instead.

Supporting information:

• Video of the powerful student testimony in support of the legislation may be viewed through the coalition’s blog.

• NE Seattle’s high school students use alcohol and marijuana at rates higher than the state average yet have little to no access to school-based drug/alcohol prevention-intervention services.

• Nathan Hale High School receives prevention-intervention services 1.5 days per week. Due to anticipated state funding changes, these services may be lost next school year.

• Roosevelt High School receives no prevention-intervention services.

• Prevention-intervention services provide students with the support they need to stop their drug use. Drug use is a barrier to learning. Parents also use school-based PI services for support and to access youth treatment services.

The lack of school-based drug and alcohol prevention-intervention services is becoming a nationwide problem

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