About Us

The Frostburg Community Coalition was created in 2011 to begin combating the incidence of harms associated with youth access to alcohol; evidence-informed environmental preventative strategies include the support of law enforcement patrols, social norming marketing campaigns, and parental education.

Since our inception, the Coalition has documented a reduction in binge drinking rates at Frostburg State University (5%) and Mountain Ridge High School (13%) in two years’ time. There has been a 20% reduction in noise citations and a 50% increase in alcohol citations adjacent to the Frostburg State University campus due to increased police patrols.

What are the coalition’s successes?

The Coalition has produced measureable results, including financial support of local law enforcement to conduct 490 hours of saturation and party patrols in the FSU student neighborhood, and financial resources for 229 hours of compliance checks of alcohol retailers.

Additionally, the coalition generated a Cooperating Alcohol Agreement between the Coalition and 19 area bars to provide free responsible beverage training to servers and sellers of alcohol.

An anonymous police tip hotline has also been promoted by the coalition to allow residents a safe space to report any suspicious activity. In reviewing usage over the past year, calls to this tip line have increased 10-fold.

Through a partnership with MRHS, the Coalition has been able to display an underage drinking and a social norming poster campaign in the school. As a result, 80% of MRHS students reported that the posters had a positive impact on their decision to drink alcohol.

Prior to the social norming campaign, 71% of MRHS students had incorrect perceptions about how many of their peers were consuming alcohol. After the social norming campaign, 69% reported changing their perception as to how many of their peers are consuming alcohol.

Drug Free Communities Grant

In September 2014, the Coalition received the Drug Free Communities Grant to help expand the scope of efforts to include youth from Westmar and Mount Savage Middle Schools and to also address concerns surrounding marijuana use.

Roster

The Frostburg Community Coalition is comprised of city officials, university administrators, landlords, law enforcement such as Frostburg City Police, Frostburg State University Police and Maryland State Police, Mountain Ridge High School administrators, parents of high school and college students, Frostburg residents, business owners, liquor board members, media relations, Frostburg State University and Mountain Ridge High School students, health care providers and mental health professionals. Currently there are 40 members who donate their time and talents to benefit the community.

Roster Photo

If you would like to join our Coalition, please contact Ashton DeWitt, Coalition Coordinator, at amdewitt@frostburg.edu

Scope of the Problem

The City of Frostburg is home to a regional state institution and robust public schools serving the needs of youth, teens, and young adults. Through our research, we have found startling trends involving alcohol and marijuana use which we wish to combat.

According to the 2013 survey of first-year students at Frostburg State University, we have documented that our first-year student populations engage in more high-risk behaviors with alcohol and marijuana upon their matriculation to FSU. The incidence of drinking by our first-year students nearly doubles once they matriculate into college - 27% to 44% - and a similar increase is found with heavy episodic first-year student drinkers (14% to 24%). We also found a 300% increase in the number of first-year students who consume marijuana post-matriculation - from 10% to 40%. Of the first-year students who reported they consumed alcohol, 73% indicated that they did so in a largely student neighborhood adjacent to the campus.

Our concern about youth alcohol abuse is heightened by reports indicating that 40% of Allegany County high school seniors admitted to binge drinking within the past 30 days. Allegany County students also have higher rates of alcohol use from eighth to twelfth grade. In regards to marijuana usage among youth in Allegany County, one-third of high school seniors indicated that they had smoked the drug within the past 30 days compared to 21% of high school seniors throughout the state.

In Allegany County, 8% of 6th graders and 10% of 8th graders reported having their first drink of alcohol when they are 8 years old or younger. Likewise, 6th and 8th graders are also reporting their first use of marijuana before entering high school.

The Frostburg Community Coalition has completed a comprehensive needs assessment and identified four areas within the community that contribute to the problem of underage and binge drinking. The areas are social availablity, retail availablity, enforcement and adjudication, and social and community norms.

Social Availablity

The coalition has created an anonymous police tip hotline, as well as marketing campaigns about strategies to drink safely, social norming, and underage drinking. These campaigns are promoted through posters, press releases, brochures, TV ads, radio ads, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

Retail Availablity

The coalition has organized an agreement between itself and Frostburg alcohol establishments that promotes responsible beverage service and acceptable community behaviors. In addition, the coalition provides a letter of collaboration to the liquor board. Events within alcohol establishments that focus on responsible drinking behaviors are also promoted through the work of the coalition. Training is provided for sellers and servers of alcohol by the coalition through the TIPS Training Program.

Law Enforcement and Adjudication

The coalition is working to increase law enforcement patrols, including: saturation patrols, party patrols, and compliance checks.

Social and Community Norms

The coalition facilitates two programs geared towards parents of teens, The MADD Power of Parents program and the Parents Who Host, Lose the Most Program. In addition, an alcohol education program called Alcohol.Edu is being implemented at Mountain Ridge High School during health class.

This website was developed under a grant number SP-14-002 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies, and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ONDCP, SAMHSA of HHS.