Good News:


Below are just a few examples of some of the accomplishments achieved
through our programs and combined coalition efforts.

National Award


Spokane – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that the Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council (GSSAC) has received a national award for Outstanding Prevention/Public Education Effort on Tribal Lands at the recent 2011 national High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Conference in Washington, D.C. GSSAC Executive Director, Linda J. Thompson, accepted the award.


White House Drug Control Policy Director, Gil Kerlikowske, made the award to GSSAC, saying, "Close collaboration with our Federal, state, local, and tribal partners is a critical component of our efforts to reduce both the demand and supply of drugs. I congratulate the GSSAC and the Northwest HIDTA for their work to improve public health and safety.”


Community Organizing

Thousands of educators, prevention specialists, youth leaders, parents, and others have received training on effective prevention strategies.


Participants in the Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Training (SAPST) increased their knowledge of prevention by an average of 18 points from the pre- to post-tests.


GSSAC's efforts have been recognized throughout the state including three Washington State Exemplary Substance Abuse Prevention Awards and three Governor's Recognition Awards.

Impaired Driving Prevention and Education

An evaluation of the 24 Hour Jail Alternative DUI Education program found that approximately 88% of participants had not had another DUI arrest four years later.

GSSAC has been instrumental in helping six other counties start DUI Victims Impact Panels.

A long-time partner with MADD, GSSAC is one of two established MADD Community Action Sites in Washington State.


Scene from mock crash, April, 2010

As a way of providing high school students a vivid and real impression of the possible horrors and long-reaching consequences of choosing to drive impaired, GSSAC has assisted in a number of Mock Crash demonstrations at area high schools over the years.

Youth and Education

The Washington Drug-Free Youth (WDFY) program, coordinated through GSSAC, was the recipient of the 2010 Exemplary Youth Project Award from the Washington State Substance Abuse Prevention Summit. This program has grown to include over 2,500 members in 25 chapters in the Spokane area. This coalition of youth conducts more than 50 presentations and prevention activities each year.

Additionally, GSSAC has aided the start up of drug-free youth programs in three other areas around the state.

GSSAC's Minors in Prevention program has helped hundreds of area youth learn to make better decisions regarding alcohol and drug use.

As a supporter of the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUAD), GSSAC is participating in their "Let's Draw the Line" campaign to promote personal action designed to draw the line between youth and alcohol.

Methamphetamine and Prescription Drug Abuse

Through a collaborative agreement with the state of Kansas, GSSAC replicated the METH WATCH Program in Washington State in 2003. To combat methamphetamine manufacturing, the METH WATCH program developed strong partnerships with the retail community to make the purchase or theft of precursor products more difficult. This partnership was very successful and has drastically helped bring down the number of Meth labs in our state.


Building on the success of the METH WATCH program, GSSAC created the Rx (pronounced rex) WATCH program designed to educate community members, law enforcement, medical and dental professionals, and pharmacists about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. The program includes some simple steps that can help make a big difference in combating this emerging epidemic.


Through regular "Train the Trainer" events for both METH WATCH and Rx WATCH, GSSAC staff and trained volunteers present information and strategies on methamphetamine and prescription drug abuse prevention that increase information dissemination in all areas of our state by training local educators throughout the state of Washington.

Policymaker Education


GSSAC was a co-founder of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention (WASAVP) which unites, educates about, and supports prevention statewide.


GSSAC staff serves and have served on statewide boards such as the Governor's Council on Substance Abuse, the Prevention Specialist Certification Board of Washington, and the Washington Impaired Driving Advisory Council


Nationally, GSSAC staff have provided our regional perspective through active membership and participation on various working groups including but not limited to:

  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Developing Leadership to Reduce Substance Abuse in the Nation Fellowship.

  • Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)

  • Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) "Above the Influence" campaign

  • Student Drug Testing Program through the Department of Education

  • National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children and

  • U.S. Department of Justice National Working Group for Drug Endangered Children Tribal Work


GSSAC actively participated with the Washington State Liquor Control Board to create an Alcohol Impact Area in downtown Spokane.


A leader in local and statewide advocacy on behalf of prevention, GSSAC has seen many of their efforts result in environmental changes such as many organizations no longer serving alcohol at fundraisers for youth, the removal of drinking games from major retail stores, and the removal of alcohol from a local grocery chain's holiday display.

GSSAC is recognized as a trusted source for news media and regularly conducts interviews through multiple media venues. In addition, GSSAC public awareness campaigns strive to promote awareness not only of the impact of substance abuse and violence and related crimes but also to highlight successful prevention efforts.

Always vigilant, GSSAC has led the call for appropriate language in the media as it relates to drug, alcohol, and violence issues. GSSAC appreciates and recognizes reporters/editors for referring to impaired driving collisions as crashes not accidents. GSSAC also advocates for positive language regarding those who need help with substance abuse issues while continually addressing the need to eliminate the stigma of treatment and recovery.

Using electronic social networks, GSSAC updates our community on drug and alcohol-related news from our region. For example, we provided information and developments surrounding the dangers of caffeinated alcoholic "energy drink" beverages.