Creating Safer, Unified Drug-free Communities
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 – The Way Out West (WOW) Coalition was formed in 2009 in Buckeye, Arizona in response to the growing concern about underage drinking and substance use in the community. A concerned group of 10 citizens came together to review the local results of the 2008 Arizona Youth Survey and were shocked to find that Buckeye youth were drinking and using drugs at levels far exceeding the county and state averages. With 3 out 4 Buckeye youth indicating some type of alcohol or drug use at the time, and school resource officers indicating that they had already had 17 incidents of drug and alcohol-related incidents in the first four months of that school year, we knew that immediate action was needed.
The interest and commitment of the community to address youth substance use was evident right from the start. When the WOW Coalition held its first official meeting in January, 2009, there was not an empty chair in the room. Our Community Needs Assessment highlighted underage drinking as our most pervasive problem, and the coalition developed a comprehensive plan to begin action to combat this issue in our community. This critical early work involved creating the first Social Host Ordinance in our county, establishing Party Patrols to reduce youth access to alcohol and a community education campaign to raise awareness about the risks of underage drinking in our community.
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 has expanded our coalition from solely underage drinking prevention to also target marijuana and Rx drug abuse.
In 2015, we implemented the Get in the Way campaign and our efforts have paid off –
- We have increased parent-child communication about ATODs including a 19.5% increase between 2014 and 2016.
- We have seen a dramatic drop in Buckeye youth reporting Past 30 Day Use of the most common substances.
- We have moved our numbers for alcohol and marijuana use among teens from above state averages to significantly lower than the state average.
- Buckeye youth delay initiation (first use), a whole lot longer than the state average…very few are initiating in elementary school in Buckeye. This is not the case at the state level, where 1 out of 5 are initiating in elementary school.