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Addressing the Impact of Substance Abuse in Alabama Communities

In recent years, substance abuse and related issues have become a key point of concern around the country. Across the United States, community organizations are stepping up to address the numerous challenges presented by a continuous rise in substance abuse.

One such nonprofit is the Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP), based in Oxford, Alabama. ASAP was originally founded in 1973 as the Regional Alcoholism Council for Calhoun and Cleburne Counties, and at the time, it focused solely on alcoholism within those counties. To address the increasingly complicated issue of substance abuse, the organization expanded its programming and outreach under its new name, Agency for Substance Abuse Prevention, in 1984.

Today, ASAP's services and events work to "strengthen community awareness through substance abuse education and prevention services to individuals, schools, industry, affected individuals and families in the state of Alabama," according to Executive Director Seyram Selase. Ultimately, these initiatives work to support individuals and families who are impacted by substance abuse, as well as to increase awareness to prevent it.

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Using Community-Based Programming to Address Unique Needs

ASAP's programming covers a range of topics that offer support and education around substance abuse. Through each service or event it conducts, the organization seeks to reach a different target population in order to address the multifaceted impact substance abuse has on a community.

Seyram and the rest of the ASAP team work to engage the young people within their community with a variety of youth-focused services. These include Youth Prevention Support Groups and Youth Alternatives Programs, which focus on enabling kids and teens to make informed decisions regarding substance use.

The organization also seeks to reduce the number of unauthorized prescription drugs in the community. ASAP participates annually in the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, created by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This event offers individuals a "safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications." But ASAP's work in drug takeback doesn't end when the Take Back Day is over. Throughout the year, the organization provides resources on where to find Rx drop-off locations for folks to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs safely and responsibly.

Sensitive Data Requires High-Quality Security

As the leader of ASAP, Seyram notes that it is crucial for its systems to be secure. In addition, when working to support the community with essential resources on substance abuse prevention, ASAP is focused on using high-quality tools that fit its budget.

ASAP turned to Norton Small Business through the Symantec program at TechSoup in order to address its security needs. "The agency has sensitive material that is stored on desktops," Seyram tells us, "and using Norton provides the protection we need." With this technology, Seyram and the rest of the ASAP team can spend less time concerned about its stakeholders' information security, and more time focused on providing them with the resources they need.

A Commitment to Supporting Individuals and Families in Need

As ASAP continues to expand, its workers are excited about adopting new technology in order to better provide for their community. "We plan to continue accomplishing our mission to strengthen our communities and provide sustainable programming that will reduce local substance abuse issues," Seyram says.

Along the way, technology offers from TechSoup will assist in their ability to do so. Seyram says that the savings from technology offers enables the organization to focus on programmatic efforts to continue to make an impact on substance abuse within its community.

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Additional Resources: Nonprofit Security