PROSPER featured in White House guide to preventing substance misuse in rural communities

Rural Community Guide: Building Stronger, Healthier, Drug-free Rural Communities
(l-r) Fayette County sheriff Jim Custer; Anne Hazlett, Senior Advisor for Rural Affairs, ONDCP; and Jennifer Deichert, PROSPER prevention coordinator. Deichert and Custer, both Fayette County PROSPER team members, attended the Jan. 31 launch event at the Eisenhower Executive Building in Washington, D.C., as invited guests of the White House.

The Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger, Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities, a new tool released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), recognizes the PROmoting School-community-university Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) universal prevention program for middle school students and their families, citing research from Penn State and Iowa State University that showed lower rates of substance misuse after high school graduation.

The purpose of the guide is to “arm rural leaders with information they can put into immediate action to create change. It provides background information, recommended action steps, and promising practices to help manage the impact of substance use disorder on local communities and help persons with the disease of addiction,” as outlined in an ONDCP statement.

“Across rural America, the Cooperative Extension System is a key asset to be harnessed to solve challenges and leverage opportunities in a rural community. Understanding the history and longstanding mission of Extension, we included PROSPER in the guide because this model is a framework for success that can be replicated to reduce substance use and bring local resources together to create healthy rural places for the future," noted Anne Hazlett, ONDCP Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs.

Fayette County PROSPER team members Jennifer Deichert, Penn State prevention coordinator; and Fayette County sheriff Jim Custer, attended the Jan. 31 launch event for the guide in Washington, D.C., as invited guests of the White House.

“Instead of dictating what programs should do, the guide gives a menu of what is being used successfully in other communities,” said Deichert. “In rural communities, it seems that ‘everyone knows everyone;’ and when a situation arises, we work together to get things done. Each rural community can use the guide to customize their toolbox based on their priorities and needs.”  

Download the Rural Community Action Guide: Building Stronger, Healthy Drug-Free Rural Communities.