Prevention and Recovery Services in Topeka is all about making communities safer by preventing crime and drug use.
They specifically target young people with their anti-drug educational programs. PARS Executive Director Michelle Voth said the drug teens use most is alcohol, but usage is declining in Shawnee County.
“We’ve seen a dramatic drop in underage drinking over the years,” Voth said.
Kristi Pankratz is the director of Safe Streets and Prevention Services at PARS. She said survey data shows the percent of teens drinking has nearly been cut in half in the last 10 years.
“We have seen 30 day alcohol use drop from in the upper 20s to about 14 percent of reported using in the last 30 days, and that’s changed since 2009,” Pankratz said.
She attributes that reduction to the prevention trainings and services they offer students and parents.
The Safe Streets program at PARS also focuses on connecting neighbors to prevent crime. It does that by organizing neighborhood watches and annual National Night Out block parties. National Night Out is a way for people to meet their neighbors and local law enforcement.
“The goal is to get to know your neighbor,” Pankratz said. “Because once you know your neighbor, you’re more invested in your community, and you’re more likely to report and notice when things are askew.”
Voth said they want to help you make your neighborhood safer.
“We’re here to help,” Voth said. “And if you have questions about substance abuse, crime prevention, or getting engaged in the community in that regard, give us a call.”
PARS has a number of presentations on substance abuse.
- Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
- Substance Abuse Statistics and Data
- Mock Bedroom
- Drug Trends
- Risk and Protective Factors
- Drug Paraphernalia
- Warning Signs & Prevention
- Substance Abuse in the Workplace
PARS also offers customized trainings and workshops on crime prevention. You can find a list of upcoming trainings by clicking here.