Polk Substance Abuse Coalition Drug Free Communities Project will increase the ability of Polk Substance Use Coalition and Polk County resident’s knowledge about substance abuse prevention and its ability to reduce 30 day use of alcohol and tobacco products in youth. This will be accomplished through strategies such as providing trainings for coalition, youth and community members on a variety of topics, creating a youth council dedicated to empowering and equipping youth to lead in prevention efforts, conducting alcohol and tobacco purchase surveys and helping law enforcement with alcohol and tobacco compliance checks. We will work with schools and the community to better enforce existing tobacco free policies and increase tobacco free signage in county parks.
This project will serve the 20,150 residents of Polk County, North Carolina. Columbus (County seat), Saluda and Tryon are our three municipalities, each with slightly over 1000 residents. The remainder of our population lives remotely, with an average of 77 people per square mile compared to 167 people per square mile for NC. According to the 2010 census, 52.0% of our population is female. The median age in Polk County is 49.1, with 30.5% of our population 65-and-older and 17.2% under the age of 18. 1200 youth are between the ages of 12 and 17, which is the demographic we will focus on under Drug Free Communities. In terms of racial and ethnic make-up, Polk County is less diverse than either WNC or NC as a whole. Our population is 92.9 % Caucasian, 4.4% African American, 0.6% American Indian, 0.6% Asian and 1.5% two or more races. There are 6.1% Hispanic or Latino living in Polk. 2015 Roadmaps & Rankings data show that there are 3,562 households in Polk, 1,280 of which are single-parent households.