2013 Sussex County Municipal Alliance Survey Results
The Sussex County Department of Human Services, Division of Community and Youth Services, in partnership with the eleven active Municipal Alliance Committees within Sussex County, have just released their findings from the online survey. The survey was conducted as part of the Needs Assessment process for the 2014 Municipal Alliance grant.
Each year, the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA) awards grant money to each county in New Jersey. The grant money is then filtered into participating communities through the Municipal Alliance Program for the establishment and implementation of drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs. Every 3 to 5 years, the Alliances are required to assess the needs in their communities to determine what areas of abuse require the most attention. As part of the Needs Assessment, the Sussex County Division of Communities and Youth, through Municipal Alliance Coordinator, Nick Loizzi, partnered with the Center for Prevention and Counseling and conducted an online survey of the public. The survey centered on current abuse beliefs and trends within the participating communities.
The surveys were available to all Sussex County residents. Respondents ranged in age from 13 to over 55. The largest group of respondents was in the 26-55 age group. Most of the respondents (74.9%) were parents.
Here are some of those findings:
- 82% of the respondents believe there is a substance abuse problem in their towns
- 94.2% believe there is a substance abuse problem in the county
- Those who responded "yes" to either of the two previous questions identified 16-18 year olds, 19-20 year olds, and 21-25 year olds as the three age groups having the most significant abuse problems
- Respondents identified Marijuana (13.3%) and Inhalants (13.5%) as the most significant problem for people under 13 years of age
- Marijuana (50.1%, 70.9%) and Alcohol (46.6%, 71.9%) were identified as significant problems for 13 to 15 year olds and 16 to 18 year olds
- Respondents identified Heroin (69%) , Marijuana (60.3%) and Alcohol (61.2%) as significant problems for 19 to 20 year olds
- Heroin (58.1%) was identified as the most significant abuse issue for 21 to 25 year olds
- Alcohol and Prescription Drugs were the most significant problems for people aged 26 to 55 and those 55 and older
The overall substance of abuse, according to the responses given, for all age groups was alcohol at 92.5% and heroin was identified by 85.5% of the respondents as the second most prolific abuse problem.
Underage drinking has been identified as a significant problem in Sussex County. Lack of parental influence was identified as the leading contributing factor in underage drinking. Other contributing factors that were identified included parents that have a problem with alcohol abuse or alcoholism, adults that host underage drinking parties, adults that encourage underage drinking as a "rite of passage", easy accessibility to alcohol, and the belief that it is not harmful by young people.
Marijuana use by youth and young adults is contributed to the perception that it is "natural" and not harmful and the belief by adults that marijuana is not harmful. Despite evidence that suggests that marijuana use in adolescence affects brain development. (*National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dec. 2012)
Respondents identified Peer Pressure as the main contributing factor for why young people use drugs and abuse legal substances. The second most identified contributing factor is lack of parental awareness. People also believe that drugs are used to make a person feel good or get away from their problems. The ease in which drugs can be obtained and boredom were the 4th and 5th most chosen contributing factor.
Alcohol is the easiest to get, followed by over-the-counter cough medicine.
Alcohol is the easiest to get, followed by over-the-counter cough medicine. Heroin is believed to be somewhat easy to get, along with marijuana. Cocaine and methamphetamine are believed to be somewhat hard to get. Cocaine was also identified as the hardest drug to get.
These survey results will be very beneficial to all the Alliances in Sussex County as they prepare their programs for 2014 and beyond. Copies of the surveys are available for viewing at the Sussex County Department of Human Services. There are Municipal Alliance committees that represent 21 of the 24 municipalities in Sussex County. For more information about the Municipal Alliance program or to learn how you can join your local Municipal Alliance contact Nick Loizzi, County Coordinator at (973) 948-6000 ext.1383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Department of Human Services would like to thank all those people who took the time to respond to the surveys and for the cooperation of each of the eleven Municipal Alliances. A special note of thanks goes to the Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton for facilitating the surveys and compiling their results.