Corpus Christi – Project HOPE was selected for extended funding to continue its mission for a sixth year. The coalition also welcomes a new Coalition Coordinator to lead its efforts in raising community awareness to change social norms regarding substance use and abuse particularly among adolescents and young adults. The coalition’s goals align with the state’s three prevention priorities of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drugs in Nueces County.

“It was unfortunate to have had to deal with Hurricane Harvey in our local area last Fall. Many regions in Texas are still dealing with issues pertaining to the natural disaster. Due to this the Texas Health and Human Services Commission has extended our funding an additional year to give ample time for all to get settled before reapplying for our next funding cycle” said Michaela Flores, Director of Youth Programs. “This announcement comes at a time when we see rising rates of young adults’ alcohol- related arrests in Nueces County,” Flores said.

According to the 2016 CORE Survey conducted at Texas A&M University, 25.8% of college students reported binge drinking. Additionally, 7.8% of students ranging from 7th-12th grade reported binge drinking in Region 11 which includes Nueces County. In 2017, more than $300k in marijuana fines were collected in Nueces County. Also, one in six teenagers admit to using prescription drugs to alter their moods or get high.

“Our goal is to implement evidence-based strategies to bring about environmental changes that will significantly reduce the rates of use among young adults,” said Robby Silva, Coalition Coordinator. “We really want to rally the community and make them aware that there is a significant need to change perceptions on how we approach these three prevention priorities. We have seen some success in our efforts like implementing a restricted alcohol ordinance passed by the City of Port Aransas and setting up prescription drug drop-boxes throughout Nueces County. I hope to take the foundation laid from the previous years and further create strategic and purposeful change,” Silva said.