Creating a Safer, Unified Drug-free Greater Buckeye Valley
WOW is a grass roots, community-based coalition presenting a parent-targeted message with a special focus on reducing substance use such as marijuana, prescription drugs, and underage drinking in Buckeye among youth grades 8-12th.
WOW represents different community sectors in the City of Buckeye including Behavioral Health, Business, Citizens, Civic, Education, Faith-based Organizations, Government, Health Care, Law Enforcement, Parents, Youth, and Youth Serving Organizations. Coalition membership is open to any interested individual. Together the Coalition is committed to preventing alcohol, prescription drug misuse and abuse, marijuana, tobacco and other drug use in Buckeye, Arizona.
WOW Mission: The Way Out West Coalition is a collaborative, cross cultural, comprehensive prevention association that promotes safe and healthy choices and responds to problems caused by alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
WOW Vision: To give every kid in Buckeye the opportunity to live a drug-free life!
WOW Purpose: The Way Out West Coalition seeks to increase awareness about the problem of underage substance abuse in the City of Buckeye (access and low perception of risk) and to educate community members about the Way Out West Coalition’s efforts in the greater Buckeye Valley.
HISTORY – In 2007, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate (now DrugFreeAZKids.org) was invited to provide prevention services and begin to lay a foundation for a new coalition. In November of 2008, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Arizona Affiliate (PDFA) and Youth Evaluation and Treatment Centers (YETC), applied for, and received, grant monies to form the “Way Out West Coalition (WOW).” The first coalition meeting was held in January of 2009 and WOW Began to work toward implementation of environmental prevention strategies to reduce underage drinking in the in the City of Buckeye. A needs assessment was conducted in 2008-2009 and alcohol use was selected as the priority issue for prevention. In July of 2012, DrugFreeAZKids.org exclusively led all WOW Coalition activities and began sustainability planning.
Since that time, the funding agency that works with the state has changed to Mercy Maricopa Integrated Health Services, but the work has sustained and has continued. WOW now reaches into 4 schools regularly to teach youth leadership, and has given presentations to all but one school in the BESD this year alone (2014-2015 Fiscal Year). The coalition has also successfully passed Maricopa County’s first Social Host Ordinance, and parental awareness has skyrocketed with 81.1% of our community concerned about underage drinking, and 95.5% believing that it is not okay for kids to drink even if they don’t get drunk.
In our recent past (Fall 2014 to Jan 2015) WOW completed a new community needs assessment consisting of approximately 140 pages of data and findings. Based on that data, WOW will be seeking funding that will expand our coalition from solely underage drinking prevention to also target marijuana and Rx drug abuse. Currently the coalition has major support from the City Government, Police Department, Schools, Business Community, Treatment Providers, as well as citizens and faith-leaders of Buckeye.