Survey seeks feedback from parents

Coalition especially wants to hear from fathers

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published February 1, 2012


In an effort to keep children safe from alcohol and drug abuse, the Troy Community Coalition will ask parents for feedback.

The Troy Community Coalition, working with the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, which serves communities in Oakland County, want parents to complete a survey online in order for the coalition to determine where to focus alcohol and drug information programs.

Nancy Morrison, executive director of the Troy Community Coalition, said the
survey takes about five minutes to complete online, and the coalition would especially like to hear from fathers.

“We would like to hear from more dads,” Morrison said. “We’ve heard from a larger
percentage of women.”

Morrison said the coalition periodically seeks community input. After culling results of one of its former surveys, administered by Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth through the Troy School District, the Troy Community Coalition determined that although some teens may not drink themselves, some get into cars with drivers who had been drinking.

The result of that knowledge was the Ride and Sober campaign, sponsored by the youth group Teens Taking Action. In the program, teens signed pledges that they would not drink and drive or get into a car if the driver had been drinking.

Students who signed the pledge were given a stick of gum with the message “Chew on this: If the driver has been drinking, refuse the ride. You’ve got choices … grab a friend and walk away together. Always drive with a sober driver.”

Teens Taking Action also created a Ride and Sober wristband in the style of a tire to reinforce the message, Morrison said.

Some questions on the current survey ask whether people would call the police if they knew other parents were hosting parties where alcohol was available or being served to teens, and whether parents monitor access to alcohol, tobacco, prescription or other drugs when teens visit their home.

Margaret Farenger, executive director of the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, said the survey is a collaborative project between the alliance the Oakland County Office of Substance Services, through the Health Division, which funds the survey.

“The biggest need is data,” Farenger said. “Coalitions must look at the facts first.”

Farenger said that information gleaned from parents and students who are surveyed separately every two years really guides where and how resources are allocated in the community.

One of the main goals of the survey is to ask parents to identify their beliefs about what is occurring with regard to underage drinking and their beliefs on the harm of underage drinking.

For example, one of the most important things revealed in the 2009 survey was that parents didn’t have information on the harm caused by underage drinking, Farenger said.

When asked, “Would you say alcohol use in underage youth is a problem?” more than 16 percent said no and 39 percent said they didn’t know.

“That tells us we need to get the information out there,” Farenger said.

The survey is confidential and must be completed before Feb. 14. The survey is available at www.survey Survey-2011.