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Feburary 17, 2010 

Coalition Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

at Chabad of S. Barbara

6047 Stow Canyon Rd., Goleta, CA 93117


Rabbi Zalmy Kudan, Chabad Saving Lives Coalition Director welcomed everyone in attendance and asked for self-introductions. Meeting was called to order at 10:00AM. Sign-in sheet on file.


In attendance (sign in sheet on file):


Rachel Holden, Student, Dos Pueblos High School (on phone); Eve Kelemen, Psychologist, Santa Barbara Schools; Gail Teton-Landis, Parent; Rabbi Yosef Loschak, Director, Chabad of S. Barbara; Dr. Joseph Frawley, Director, Recovery Road Medical Center; Rabbi Zalmy Kudan, Saving Lives Coalition; Rick Roney, Community Member; Brad McVay, S. Barbara Sheriff; Nancy Vasquez, Consultant, Santa Barbara County Alcohol & Drug Program; Neil Levinson, Business Sector, Attorney; Eric Onnen, Mayor of Goleta; Annette Padilla, Consultant (on phone).



After self-introductions, Rabbi Zalmy thanked all for coming and mentioned a 21-year old community member who was killed last Friday by a drunk driver. 

Annette Padilla introduced herself as a consultant to the Saving Lives Coalition. She thanked the City of S. Barbara, the County of S. Barbara and the various organizations here in town for the environmental prevention work done thus far.


Coalition Name & Mission:

Consensus was reached on using the name "Saving Lives Coalition" and the Mission Statement was approved by the attendees. 

Of special note is the usage of the words "ATOD problems", referring to the measurable data that ensures productivity and accountability. The usage of "Scientifically proven methods that reduce availability" indicates the coalitions’ focus on using the research that shows effective environmental strategies that indeed reduce availability and thereby reduce the problems.


Data Assessment:

The California Healthy Kids Survey data was reviewed which demonstrates similar trends in Alcohol and Marijuana that shows an increase in usage as the children grow older. Rachel Holden, Student thought that the 23% of 11th graders using Marijuana was understated. Rabbi Zalmy pointed out that despite 88% of 11th graders answering that alcohol is dangerous, 40% report drinking it in the past 30 days. This demonstrates success in our communities education programs and yet still makes it evident that availability issues must be addressed.

County of S. Barbara treatment admissions data was looked at. Annette explained the data is an indicator of demand and another reflection of the problem. Nancy Vasquez cautioned that there are a number of factors including funding and use that may affect the rise and decline of treatment data. Nancy also pointed out that although the CHKS survey demonstrates alcohol as the most frequently used, the treatment data shows Marijuana as the more often treated. This may be because parents are more motivated to get treatment for their children's marijuana problems and there may be additional criminal justice requirements with marijuana. Neil Levinson, noted that in his role as a defense attorney he sees alcohol and marijuana as equally representing the most common offences, with a slight increase in prescription drugs as of late.

Mayor Onnen mentioned tar heroin as a problem. Brad McVay noted that prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication seems to be on a sharp increase in usage amongst youth. Rabbi Zalmy noted the limitations of data availability in regard to prescription drug usage. Annette Padilla noted that in addition to a lack of data, we don't have scientific evidence as to which methods will reduce the problems. Rick asked if tobacco was a major problem.  Rachel discussed that marijuana is seen as less harmful than tobacco which has extensive educational programming. Brad McVay added that tobacco problems are often seen only where alcohol is present.


Cottage Hospital Emergency Room data admissions of 12-18 year olds for substance abuse.   Rick Roney noted that the 100 ER admissions for 2009 indicates a much larger usage problem than reported by the law enforcement and school data sources.


S. Barbara Police Department data was reviewed for minor in possession, sales to minors, minors using false IDs, and Zero Tolerance. Brad McVay mentioned that law enforcement has extensive data that Zero Tolerance operations reduce the amounts of violence and other alcohol related problems. Neil Levinson added that Zero Tolerance operations are essential and valuable as there are rarely repeat offenders, suggesting that these are extremely effective. Brad McVay added that the S. Barbara Police Dept. has begun an impressive training program for bar tenders, bars and restaurants on checking ID and sales to minors and this is what led to the dramatic decline in sales to minors.


Dr. Wittman's geographical map of adults arrested for minor in possession offences. The indicators seemed to point to Lower State Street and Milpas as the trouble areas. Nancy mentioned that in her years of experience working in S. Barbara, lower State Street has always been a problem. Isla Vista differs in that the availability is in the stores, whereas the problems are on Del Playa. 

In summary, the coalition agreed that at this point, alcohol and marijuana are the most used and the substances with the most data available to us. As such, it seems it would make sense to work with those two substances in our initial stages.


Future data requests will be made as follows: ER data to be broken down into specific diagnosis, and to determine which hospitals specifically are included; Clarification and interpretation on Police Department data.


Strategic Planning:

Annette reviewed the Environmental Prevention Implementation Model and explained the effectiveness of using Intentional Organizing, Data & Research, Enforcement, Policy Change and Media Advocacy all together in a combined effort.


Annette reviewed the logic model that we will use to suggest policies and enforcement measures that will result in a reduction in use and problems. Proven methods for reducing underage drinking and some suggested strategies for reducing marijuana use were displayed as well. (See Powerpoint presentation). Eric Onnen questioned using price strategies which ultimately tax legal drinkers to reduce underage consumption. Annette mentioned that this has proven to be the most effective strategy, though the hardest to actually implement. Rabbi Loschak noted that alcohol is still socially accepted by most and therefore would seem to be more difficult to get support for legislation that would raise taxes.

Annette introduced proposed strategies for work with marijuana. Although the science is less developed than with underage drinking, the strategies presented in the Powerpoint seem to be well-worth the coalitions’ effort.


Availability Issues

Mayor Onnen noted that in Goleta the geographical areas that are problematic are the remote beaches near the Elwood Bluffs and Pascal's beach. Rachel Holden affirmed that High School children go both to State Street and Isla Vista. Isla Vista is easier in her opinion to actually obtain alcohol as the students are more willing. Brad McVay discussed the curfew that is in place for 18 and younger, though enforcement is an issue with the number of officers. S. Barbara's Social Host Ordinance (SHO) was discussed as possible educational tool to educate parents as to their responsibility. Annette Padilla cautioned that there is limited scientific research done on the relatively new SHO, though it seems promising as an effective strategy.


Rick Roney brought up the gangs issues which has impact as they are often the suppliers of the drugs. The city has done some work with gangs in the last few years and it would seem dangerous for the coalition to take an active role in this area, though a supporting role, with media advocacy may be appropriate.


A discussion ensued about Marijuana dispensaries. Rachel felt that it is extremely easy to get marijuana, as easy as candy, from friends at school. She also mentioned anecdotally that often people who are not sick are using the dispensaries. Mayor Onnen mentioned that there are only 2 dispensaries in Goleta, one of which is not operating legally as it was established after a prohibition was enacted. No enforcement action has been taken as of yet. In Santa Barbara, there is a moratorium as well, as the city is investigating the legality of the current operations.

Marijuana farms were also discussed. The Sheriff's Department has done extensive work with farms. Brad McVay noted that in Isla Vista there are many closets filled with "grows". Nancy pointed out that legally if you have a card you can grow a certain amount and this contributes to the "closet grows".

Nancy wondered if Isla Vista and State Street are as big of a problem as the "social users" and home parties, which may be addressed through the social host ordinance.

Rabbi Zalmy asked if there was a curfew in Isla Vista. Brad McVay verified that there is already a curfew in place, though enforcement is an issue as it takes up too much time from the limited amount of law enforcement officers. Rabbi Loschak and Gail Teton-Landis shared anecdotal evidence of extreme college alcohol consumption and the lack of preparedness that freshman experience when first entering the college "party atmosphere".


Coalition Operations:

Rabbi Zalmy explained Chabad of S. Barbara's role as fiscal agent for the coalition and Chabad's commitment to meeting the reporting requirements and fiscal responsibilities.

The coalition agreed that email lists and internet forums will be employed to facilitate communication between the coalition members. Chabad will setup these in the near future. Meetings will be held as necessary, probably about once a quarter.


A discussion ensued as to exactly which areas should be defined in our scope of work. School data and hospital data would include both S. Barbara and Goleta, whereas, law enforcement data would be separate. Rick mentioned the advantage of taking on both areas so that we won't just be solving one area and moving the problems to another. It seems that despite the separate municipalities there may not be such a differentiation. Nancy suggested determining the problems and then defining the locations where those problems need to be addressed.


Next Steps:

Chabad will continue to finalize the 12 sector representatives and obtain Coalition Involvement Agreements (CIA) from the participants. Likewise, in-kind and cash donations will be secured to fulfill the match requirements.


March 19, 2010 is the deadline for the grant application for the Drug Free Communities Grant.  We look forward to hiring a coordinator once we are funded.


Meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.





Respectfully submitted by

Rabbi Zalmy Kudan

Saving Lives Coalition Director