Annual Network survey seeks info on varied issues
September 1, 2022
Wahkiakum Community Network (WCN) is conducting its annual community survey to find out how people in Wahkiakum County believe issues like alcohol, hard drugs, cannabis, bullying, and suicide are affecting the youth and general public.
The survey is available online and takes about three to five minutes to complete. It asks questions like, “How easy do you think it is for youths to access cannabis in middle school? Or high school?”
“The data we get from it gets combined with the Healthy Use survey that the kids actually do in the school every other year, so when it gets published the following year, we can look at the trends and see where education is needed and see what are some of the community’s concerns,” said WHHS Community Services Manager Julie Johnston. “Our coalition, which is the Wahkiakum Community Network, takes that into consideration to figure out where our work needs to be focused at.”
Johnston encourages everyone to take the survey and especially hopes that parents of middle school and high school students will participate.
“They are the ones that are really in there with them, and seeing what is going on,” she said.
“[The survey] is really important,” she added. “It’s anonymous. You can answer three questions, or all questions. You don’t have to answer any question you don’t want to. The only one you have to answer is the zip code.”
Johnston and colleague Heather Odom set up a booth at the Wahkiakum County Fair this year, and people stopped by to fill out surveys by hand. Many were 65 and older.
“One thing ringing through to me, everyone was agreeable that prescription use, when not prescribed, was high risk,” Johnston said. “A lot of people would hide their medications, but they wouldn’t lock them up.”
She realized that people were largely unaware of a drug take back box set up at the Cathlamet Pharmacy, which she said was another way to get prescriptions off the streets.
The survey is available online at https://www.research.net/r/WAWAEN2022 or readers can find their ad in this week’s paper to access the survey with the QR code. Everyone that completes the survey can opt to be entered in a drawing which will be done at the beginning of December.
What they will be drawing for has yet to be determined, but Johnston and Odom promise it will be “exciting local goodies.”
The Wahkiakum Community Network is in desperate need of members, Johnston added.
“We are really looking for parental involvement, for youth that would be willing to come and let us hear their voices.”
They also welcome law enforcement, civic/volunteer groups, businesses, health care professionals, media, youth-serving organizations, religious/fraternal organizations, state/local/tribal government, schools, and other substance use disorder organizations.
WCN provides substance use disorder prevention in the community through evidence based programs, public awareness, and environmental strategies and lead prevention activities in at Wahkiakum School District.
Substance abuse can erode the health and safety of a community, according to the organization’s literature. Preventing early use of substances can in turn help to prevent future negative outcomes such as child abuse and neglect, other forms of violence, unemployment and poverty, crime, and avoidable medical care.
Anyone interested in learning more should contact Johnston at 360-751-0574 or firstname.lastname@example.org.