Health Policies and Systems focuses on prevention work aimed at reducing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by youth (middle- and high-school students) and young adults. The program leverages the partnerships with the Celebrating Healthy Communities coalition along with other individual community partners to maximize impact in our community. Projected outcomes include a reduction in the frequency of youth alcohol consumption, reduction in number of tobacco users, and an increase in number of developmental assets self-reported by youth.

Current Programming
  • Celebrating Community Norms is an initiative that allows us here at the San Juan Basin Health Department to broaden our focus to address the use of alcohol and other drugs which often accompany the use of tobacco. Our goal is to increase developmental assets among youth and young adults by positively impacting perceptions and community norms regarding substance use.
  • The Drug Free Communities: SJBHD is currently working on these goals to achieve success in our community:
    1. Increase community collaboration regarding the prevention of youth substance abuse.
    2. Reduce substance abuse among youth in La Plata County. We will focus on alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, prescription drugs.
      SJBHD_TooBusyBiker        SJBHD_BearDance
    • A social norms media campaign for parents. The message of this campaign is that teenagers do listen to their parents, even though they don’t always show it. Parental disapproval of drug and alcohol use is very important.
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    • The adult role model award.
      • With this award we encourage youth to think about the importance of positive role models in their lives. Role models can help you reach your goals and can encourage you to contribute to your community.
    • Parent education about drugs and alcohol and about the 40 developmental assets.
      • Developmental assets are ‘building blocks’ for healthy development. The more developmental assets a child has, the more unlikely the child is to engage in risky behaviors like drug or alcohol abuse. Parents and teachers play a key role in this.
    • Strengthening the collaboration with partners in La Plata County.
      • The stronger our networks, the stronger our community. With a strong and caring community we can accomplish much more than we would ever think possible!

  • Lasso Tobacco
    • For nearly 20 years, the Lasso Tobacco Project has been working to promote health by addressing tobacco use through a combination of education, advocacy and policy. As a result, the smoking rate in La Plata County has been reduced by more than 24 percent.
    • On November 5th, 2012 a public hearing at City Council was held for a city ordinance, proposed by the LTC, which strengthens the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act by banning cigarette smoking in public spaces within city limits. Due to the hard work and dedication of our coalition members, including the Torch Club of the Boys and Girls Club of La Plata County, smoking is now banned in all city owned parks, playgrounds, bus stops, sports fields, and along the Animas River Trail!
  • The Dragon Youth Project was a prevention program offered through SJBHD, standing for Developing Real Assets through Guidance, Opportunities & Knowledge. The DRAGON Youth Project was funded by Colorado Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division and the Law Enforcement Assistance Fund.

Community Partners
  • Lasso Tobacco Project
  • Durango School District 9-R
  • La Plata County Boys and Girls Club
  • Fort Lewis College Student Wellness Initiatives
  • DRAGON Youth Project
  • SWConnect
  • La Plata Youth Services
  • Durango Police Department
  • Healthy Lifestyles La Plata
  • Seniors Outdoors
  • La Plata County Government
  • Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Partners
  • AmeriCorps
  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southwestern Colorado
  • Children Youth and Family Master Plan Implementation Team

To get involved, learn more, or partner, please contact us at (970)247-5702.

Media Resources

GanjaBroch            TheyAreListening

(Ganja Brochure, 8.5 x 11″)                                                                   (Postcard to parents- 5×7″)


RetractableBanner                                                                           Infographic


(Retractable Banner Infographic, 33″ x 78.75″)                     (Infographic- best used on social media, roughly 11×17″)


BW AdBW Ad 2


(5.125×7″ BW ad) (5.25x 5.5″ BW ad)

MJ Tar  MJ Lasting Effects  MJ Driving


(“Mini” ads, roughly 8.5″x11″ )


Resources for Parents and Mentors

Developmental Assets

The Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets are concrete, common sense, positive experiences and qualities essential to raising successful young people. These assets have the power during critical adolescent years to influence choices young people make and help them become thriving adults.

Over time, studies of more than 2.2 million young people consistently show that the more assets young people have, the less likely they are to engage in a wide range of high-risk behaviors and the more likely they are to thrive. Research has proven that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, including problem alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. The same kind of impact is evident with many other problem behaviors, including tobacco use, depression and attempted suicide, antisocial behavior, school problems, driving and alcohol, and gambling.

For more information about Developmental Assets visit

For age appropriate Developmental Assets lists with action steps click here.

Checkout these other resources: