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Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services

Department of Community and Human Services

Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division
Chinook Building
401 Fifth Ave., Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104

Jim Vollendroff, Dir.
e-mail us
Phone:  206-263-9000
Fax:   206-296-5260
TTY:   711 Relay Service

Employee Directory

Department: Community and Human Services
Adrienne Quinn, Director

Prevention Services

Two programs focus on the prevention of substance abuse and violence:

These programs provide large and small grants to support community prevention efforts in King County. The grants are used for prevention services including:

  • Education and support for children and youth to make healthy choices
  • Parenting classes to help families raise healthy, drug-free children and youth
  • Youth leadership activities
  • Coalition development.

How are prevention services delivered?

King County prevention services uses the Washington State DSHS Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery Services' approach to prevention that strives to reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors in young people's lives by supporting them, their families and communities.

Goals of prevention:

  • Help young people to abstain from alcohol and other drugs.
  • Keep young people from engaging in violence.
  • If young people use drugs and/or are involved in violence, help them to stop and make better choices.
  • Work with families, communities and schools to support non-use and non-violence.

Evidence-based programs and practices proven to be effective in preventing substance abuse and violence are used. The AODPP funds Evidence-based programs and practices. These practices include specific parenting curriculum and youth development strategies. The COP bases their work on the best practice model called Communities That Care, which helps communities mobilize to promote positive youth development and to prevent adolescent problem behaviors.

Why should we invest in prevention?

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It is better to prevent a problem, rather than waiting to deal with the aftermath.

Making early investments in the positive development of children and youth costs far less than failing to prevent youth substance abuse and violence. It costs more than $45,000 per year to confine a young person in the juvenile justice system. In contrast, effective prevention saves money, as well as reduces the human toll caused by substance abuse and violence. Research shows that for every $1 spent on prevention, the savings to society can range from $2 to $20, depending on the cost of the prevention service.

What is the extent of the problem related to substance use and violence?

Consider these facts:

  • Use of alcohol and other drugs plays a major role in the top three causes of death and injury among teenagers and young adults: car crashes, homicides, and suicides.
  • Children and youth who begin drinking and using drugs at an early age are at higher risk of developing later substance abuse problems.
  • Alcohol is the most widely used drug by children and youth. Alcohol use is linked with youthful deaths by drowning, suicide, and homicide.
  • Young people who drink alcohol are more likely to be victims of violent crime. They are more likely to be involved in car crashes. They are at higher risk for having serious school problems.
  • Police and schools report an increase in youth violence, and an increase in gang related violence by younger youth than previously seen.

Washington State conducts the Healthy Youth Survey every two years to collect vital information about students, their current drug use, and involvement in violent behaviors.

According to the 2010 Healthy Youth Survey, 12th grade students in King County reported the following:

  • 39.6% drank alcohol
  • 26.6% used marijuana or hashish
  • 7.2% used other illegal drugs (i.e., not counting alcohol, marijuana and tobacco)
  • 14.8% smoked cigarettes
  • 17.8% were bullied
  • 5.9% carried a weapon to school
  • 14.6% had been physically abused by an adult

For detailed Healthy Youth Survey information and reports for King County, please see the attached:

What's New

September 2014 – Celebrating 25 Years of National Recovery Month! 

This year's theme, "Join the Voices for Recovery: Speak Up, Reach Out," encourages people to openly discuss—or speak up about—mental and substance use disorders and the reality of recovery. Our theme aims to foster public understanding and acceptance of the benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery from behavioral health conditions. The observance also promotes ways first responders, faith leaders, youth and young adults, and policymakers can recognize these issues and intervene—or reach out—to help others, as well as themselves.

Last year, the governor of the State of Washington, the King County Executive, Providers and Mayors of 33 cities and towns in King County each signed proclamations declaring September Recovery Month.  Examples of events throughout King County can be found in our Event Calendar. You may also visit the frequently updated SAMHSA National Recovery Month website for events scheduled and proclamations issued locally and across the United States.

You can participate in the campaign by posting your events, sharing your story, watching Road to Recovery programs, disseminating public service announcements to local media, sending an e-Card, and posting widgets to your social media or websites. There are many other ways to get involved – join King County in celebrating 25 years of National Recovery Month!

2014 Proclamations

Black Diamond
Des Moines
Federal Way
Hunts Point
Lake Forest Park
Maple Valley
Mercer Island
North Bend

Washington State