Goal Statement: The purpose and goal of this portfolio is to raise awareness regarding alcohol consumption by highlighting influential factors and prevention techniques in order to decrease excessive drinking rates for adults residing in Itasca County.
Significant Findings: Excessive drinking is present in 23% of the population in Itasca County (County Health Ranking & Roadmaps, 2018). Excessive alcohol consumption is a growing public health issue resulting from multiple systemic, cultural, governmental, and individual risk factors that are present within the rural community. Individual risk factors include food insecurity, poverty, housing instability, a family history, trauma, medical issues, and the presence of mental health related conditions (County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, 2018). Prevention measures are needed to combat risk factors that would otherwise result in the rate of alcohol consumption continuing to rise. Alcohol use can have devastating impacts on individuals, families, communities, society, and the government resulting in millions of dollars in expenditures of state and federal funds (Gloppen et al., 2022). Addressing all levels of the social-ecological model is necessary in order for prevention measures to make an impactful change (CDC, n.d.).
Prevention measures that could be helpful for Itasca County residents include applying the health belief model that focuses on one’s perceptions of their medical health and how to approach any concerns (National Cancer Institute, 2005). Pairing healthy lifestyle practices with educational efforts can elicit positive behavioral changes related to one’s health (National Cancer Institute, 2005). A second evidence based prevention option that could be applied is the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) program. BASICS focuses prevention efforts on college students who are drinking heavily with identified risk factors of alcohol-related problems (Griffin & Botvin, 2010). A client centered and motivational interviewing approach is used with BASICS. This helps to provoke changes in behaviors related to drinking by helping students to learn and apply objectives to decrease any inconsistencies that may be occurring between use and one’s goals (Griffin & Botvin, 2010).
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: Professionals in the community can begin prevention efforts by (1) Building rapport with community members who have lived experience and are seeking social change surrounding alcohol consumption rates. (2) Engaging deeper with community members in order to elicit feedback, identify barriers for change, discuss influential risk factors, and cultural factors that may result in excessive drinking behaviors. (3) Encouraging community agencies to collaborate, incorporate the feedback obtained, and to develop a widespread action plan in order to disseminate educational materials, resources, and prevention efforts that are available to help rural communities. (4) Eliciting the help of local community colleges and high schools, in order to advocate by offering the BASICS program, the health belief model, prevention information, and educational materials to college students, high school students, and individuals throughout the community. (5) Encouraging those who have participated in the prevention measures to provide feedback on the quality and outcomes of the prevention measures in order to adjust approaches as needed to obtain the best outcomes possible.