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DEFY assesses drug trends in Estacada

Drug Free Estacada Families & Youth (DEFY) has launched a new study of drug trends and risk factors in Estacada.

As indicated by its newly formed vision statement, the coalition strives for a “thriving community where young people flourish without alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.”

While DEFY employs only a part-time director and full time project manager, it forms strategic partnerships with different sectors of the community.

For its first three years of existence, DEFY has focused its attentions on preventing alcohol and marijuana use among young people ages 11-18.

But according to DEFY’s director Susie Tracy, “It’s time for us to take a fresh look at the community and a fresh look at the trends.”

Coalition members are planning to gather information on drug use in Estacada from a variety of sources.

They plan to examine Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office arrest records for Driving Under the Influence, minor in possession, providing alcohol to minors and other substance related incidents along with domestic violence calls.

“The Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office has been very supportive of our coalition,” Tracy said.

DEFY members also will gather data from the state epidemiologist, emergency room visits, child protection services, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Estacada schools, Oregon Impact and more.

Members of the coalition will conduct “environmental scans” in Estacada between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Tracy was careful to stress that the coalition’s study of drug trends in Estacada will be observationally and numerically based; it is not an effort to gather names and single out individuals.

“We’re not police. We’re not narcs. We’re not informants,” she said. “It’s really important people understand this isn’t on a name basis. It’s on a numbers, consequences and impact basis.”

Once the information is gathered, DEFY will reassess drug abuse trends and evaluate the seriousness of consequences in the community.

From there, the coalition will determine which two substances to focus the bulk of it prevention efforts.

“This requires an open mind and it requires curiosity,” Tracy said.

She expects the findings of the study to be presented during DEFY’s Tuesday, Oct. 15 coalition meeting, and for the substances to focus on to be selected then.

However, after all of this effort, Tracy expects that alcohol and marijuana will remain the areas of focus.

That would be true even if, as Tracy suspects, legislation legalizing marijuana were passed by Oregon lawmakers or voters.

“When you legalize something your perception of harm goes way down,” she said. “It creates tremendous confusion in the minds of young people.”

Once DEFY has collected and analyzed data, it plans to make its findings public.

Tracy said the coalition would welcome public input on the study.

For more information visit DEFY’s website at estacadadefy.org or email Tracy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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