Pubdate: Mon, 20 Sep 2010
Source: Kootenay News Advertiser (CN BC)
Copyright: 2010 Kootenay News Advertiser
Author: Kerstin Renner


Over the last few years, Cranbrook RCMP have taken a new approach to
drug and alcohol prevention.

The Community Prevention Education Continuum helps young people make
healthy choices throughout their schooling.

The federal RCMP Drug and Organized Crime Awareness Service has taken
notice and wants to expand the program to other communities.

Corporal Al Nutini who coordinates CPEC in Cranbrook says community
mobilization is the key to the success of the program. He feels in
Cranbrook it is truly the community that raises the children. CPEC is
taking already established initiatives, such as the RCMP-run DARE
program and enhancing them by partnering with other community

Also important to the program is that it delivers a consistent
prevention message throughout a child's school life. "When a students
goes to school, he doesn't learn math just in Grade 5, he learns math
right from Kindergarten to Grade 12," Nutini says. He adds the message
of making good decisions has to be delivered in the same way.

The approach seems to be paying off. Over the approximately last five
years, alcohol use has gone down significantly in this area. "We're
seeing declines of about 8 per cent in students Grade 8 to 12," Nutini
states. This is about twice the provincial average.

One student who has gone through the CPEC program is Julie Ann
Sternig. She recently received a letter she had written to herself as
part of the DARE program in Grade 6 and made a realization. "What I
wanted when I was little, I still want now," she explains.

Sternig excelled in school and her athletic activities and she
realized to do so she would have to make good decisions. She says the
decision-making model she learned through CPEC will help her in
anything she has planed for the future.

CPEC is working with an ever growing number of community partners to
teach young people about the social and health consequences of their
decisions, whether it is drinking, smoking, drug use or driving while
impaired. Al Nutini knows the great importance if community partners.
"Six, seven years ago, we started talking about it and then it morphed
into this because of the great people."

One of the community partners is East Kootenay Addiction Services.
Paul Komer is the Community Prevention Coordinator with the
organization and he feels it is not only the young people who benefit.
"What this community can see from all this is the more they invest,
the more return they get." A couple of years ago, Cranbrook was named
a Safe Community in Canada and Komer says the success of the
prevention program contributed o the designation.
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