By: B. Howe, ED, Morgan County Substance Abuse Council

Morgan County is located in central Indiana between Indianapolis, in Marion County and Bloomington in Monroe County. The population in 2019 was 70,489. We have four school systems: Eminence Community Schools, Monroe-Gregg School District, Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation and M.S.D. of Martinsville. Morgan County is strong in agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare. Like every other county in the United States, we are also are seeing an explosive rise of adolescents’ vaping. When the 20th Surgeon General of the United States issued an advisory that declared youth e-cigarette use an “epidemic” on December 18, 2018 unfortunately Morgan County was not surprised. Vaping puts nicotine into the body. Nicotine is highly addictive and can: slow brain development in teens and affect memory, concentration, learning, self-control, attention, and mood. It can also increase the risk of other types of addiction later in life.

In February 2020, at the beginning of the COVID epidemic, the Morgan County Substance Abuse Council was given the opportunity to write a proposal to help support our efforts to educate our community about the harm of using e-cigarettes and vaping. We are very thankful to the COF Barclay Giel Seed Grant program for awarding the program $7,500. The ultimate goal of the program is to reduce use through education. From November 2020 through June 2021 the Morgan County Substance Abuse Council used the grant award to present a program entitled “Everything You Need to Know”. The program was an hour long, in person, training that included a short video, a presentation and ended with a Q and A session.

The Morgan County Substance Abuse Council presented this program throughout the county to students and staff at locations such as Martinsville Youth Development Center, WellSpring Family Shelter, the Crossing School of Business & Entrepreneurship, residents of Stability First- Magdalen House, the Boys and Girls Club of Morgan County, and at a lunchtime conference conducted at the city county administration building.

Morgan County Substance Abuse Council collected pre- and post- surveys for all programs and events. The surveys asked simple questions regarding the individual’s understanding of these products. The goal was to show an increased knowledge of all products on the post- survey. These evaluations provided us with information about whether the program, policy, or practice is impacting participants by demonstrating increased knowledge. In 95% of surveys collected the individual reported they learned new information.

Since 1983 Morgan County Substance Abuse Council has worked with schools, individuals and businesses as a non-profit organization with a focus on prevention and education of substance abuse in Morgan County. We are very thankful to the COF Barclay Giel Seed Grant program for helping us to support our community.