Quartier takes on substance abuse prevention in Jones Co.

Posted May 29, 2013 at 2:28 pm

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

Jones County has a new Prevention Specialist, working to continue the efforts set out by the SPF SIG (Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant).

Amber Quartier started her new position in late April, after Patti Bammert, the previous SPF SIG coordinator, left to seek additional employment.

Quartier is originally from Delaware County, but now resides in Marion.

“I heard there was a need and I was interested in something new,” Quartier said of applying for the job.

Having been active with the Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition in the past, Quartier was still on the e-mail list, which is how she found out about the open position.

Quartier worked for Foundation 2 in Cedar Rapids prior to accepting the prevention specialist position. She said the counseling and crisis intervention service was about to see some drastic funding cuts, so Quartier wanted to secure a job before she was let go.

As the SPF SIG coordinator, Quartier is an employee of ASAC (Area Substance Abuse Council). The IDPH (Iowa Department of Public Health) helps fund the position. According to the IDPH, the purpose of the SPF SIG grant is to “prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance abuse, including childhood and underage drinking; reduce substance abuse-related problems in communities, and; build prevention capacity and infrastructure at the state/tribal and community level.”

Quartier said one of the reasons she sought the position stems from an incident while she was in high school at Ed-Co. The school was impacted by several student accidents and deaths within just a very short amount of time.

“I’ve seen the impact something like this can have on a community as a whole,” commented Quartier. “I know the consequences and results something like this can have on a close knit town.”

With her past work experience at a youth residential program, Quartier said she’s seen the effects of substance abuse among youth. This invaluable experience also led to landing the job.

Quartier earned her bachelor’s degree from UNI in family services. She said this allows her to be flexible and work with a variety of organizations and ages.

The SPF SIG grant is a five-year program. “My goal is help community changes in Jones County be sustainable,” said Quartier. “The next step is to figure out how can changes in substance abuse continue to occur without SPF SIG?”

Quartier said Jones County could become a role model for other counties, depending on the outcomes of the SPF SIG program, once all of the data is collected. Already, Delaware County has passed a social host ordinance; something Jones County passed a couple of years ago.

Quartier said one big focus she would like to spend some time on is TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) training, especially with concessions. TIPS offers training on responsible beverage serving. Quartier would like to promote concession training for large events and gatherings. She said when RAGBRAI came through Anamosa last summer, those serving alcohol went through the training.

“The volunteers feel educated,” she said.

Working with youth and adults, Quartier said she likes the variety of work she’ll be doing in Jones County.

“I want to connect with as many as possible,” she said of reaching out into the communities.

Wanting to see Jones County become a healthier county, Quartier said the state’s goal is to see all of Iowa become the healthiest state in the nation. Her work with the SPF SIG grant falls in line with that initiative. Quartier said through TIPS training, media campaigns, compliance checks and more, Jones County is well on its way to accomplishing that goal.

Quartier stated each county that received SPF SIG funding based on the need accomplished their goals with different approaches. She explained that the state will hopefully compile the results on how effect the program was and incorporate the most effective approaches statewide.

“Each county acts as a guinea pig to determine what’s most effective for each community,” she said of their involvement in SPF SIG.

Quartier will be splitting her new full-time position between the Coalition and ASAC. She will be attending Coalition meetings and hopes to collaborate with area law enforcement.

“The Coalition has great collaboration with Jones County law enforcement,” noted Quartier. “It makes a big difference in accomplishing goals.”

To contact Quartier, you can e-mail her at aquartier@asac.us or stop by her office inside the Coalition office in Anamosa at 203 E. Main St.