The Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse is a coalition formed by a committed group of Vashon Islanders who have come together to engage, educate and empower our community to reduce and prevent underage drug and alcohol use.
VARSA is participating in the Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI), and has been awarded a five year grant to plan, develop, and implement community-wide strategies to reduce and prevent underage drug and alcohol use on Vashon.
Our Island has an underage drug and alcohol consumption issue that in some cases is 50% higher than the state wide average. We want to engage the wider community, educate families, and empower our young people to make healthy choices.
Despite the many advantages of growing up on this beautiful island, Vashon youth show high rates of underage drug and alcohol use.
Over the last decade, data from the statewide Healthy Youth Survey (HYS) has consistently indicated underage alcohol and drug use is higher on Vashon than state averages across all grade levels, with first use starting as young as sixth grade.
There is a common belief that the Island has favorable attitudes towards underage drug and alcohol use.
Many students don’t understand the risks, have friends who drink and use drugs, and believe that social norms and the changes in legislation promote drinking and drug use.
19% of twelfth graders have driven under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the last month.
73% of adults think other Islanders are OK with underage drug and alcohol use.
In the last month 27.8% of 10th graders have used marijuana.
Alcohol use amongst twelfth graders is 50% higher than the state average.
VARSA needs everyone in the community working together to create the kind of environment that raises healthy youth with the skills and values for leading authentic, responsible, and productive lives. There are lots of different ways to help out, from volunteering on a single project to becoming a Sector Leader
It takes a lot of people-power to put on the projects we have in mind. We need volunteers to help.
Whether you can represent a sector or be a partner with the coalition, we want to hear from you.
Every penny makes a difference, from corporate event sponsorship to donating your piggy bank.
Our children depend upon the adults of this community to build a coalition of support around them to make good choices and lead healthy, productive lives. VISD is honored to join VARSA in this community's effort to care for our children.
With the confusion around the changes in marijuana legislation and the high percentage of underage drinking on the island, VARSA has an opportunity to really engage, educate and empower our community and really make a difference on Vashon.
At Harbor School, we have many conversations with our students about personal accountability for the many choices in their lives. We wish to have our youth prepared with accurate and compelling information to make those choices. There comes a point where adults cannot make those decisions for our young friends, and we have to trust that our efforts and their own wisdom will lead them to a healthy path.
King County affirms the vision of the VARSA Coalition and supports its ongoing work to make Vashon Island a safer and healthier place for its youth through its work on the CPWI grant.
In strengthening the skills of students to make positive, healthy choices we are lucky to have VARSA as a partner. The vast majority of VHS students do not use drugs or drink alcohol and we are committed to helping them maintain their values.
Many teens who find themselves in unhealthy relationships use alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. Not only that, but any person under the influence of alcohol or drugs is legally unable to consent. These are both very real problems that have attainable solutions. The DoVE Project is thrilled to partner with VARSA and we are committed to bolstering a healthy community
The Vashon Island School District Board recognizes the invaluable contribution that VARSA makes to the health and well-being of our Island's youth. We are proud to partner with them as we all work to reduce underage substance use on Vashon.