Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Palau Bureau of Public Health: DeWill 2 Live

In December 2008, the Palau Bureau of Public Health launched the DeWill2Live campaign, marking the one-first year anniversary of 15-year-old Dewill Reklai, who lost his life to a drunk driver a few days before Christmas. DeWill2Live has since become a nation-wide anti-drunk driving campaign with a mission to promote awareness of drunk driving and public education efforts to address the problem.

Despite stricter laws to reduce drunk driving, and collaborated efforts to prevent drunk driving in Palau, limited law enforcement resources and inadequate general vehicle safety legislation continue to encourage drinking while driving habits amongst motorists of all ages. Statistics from the Palau National Hospital’s emergency room indicate that in 2009, 34 of 152 alcohol-related injuries (22 percent) resulted from motor vehicle accidents. Compared to previous years, these numbers suggest that motorists continue to drink alcohol while driving. The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey also revealed that 51 percent of high school students surveyed said that they had ridden in a vehicle operated by a person who had consumed alcohol at least once within the previous one-month period. Eighteen percent of these students also said that (at least once within the previous one-month period) they themselves had operated a vehicle while they had been consuming alcohol.

Based on the need for stronger advocacy against drunk and drugged driving, the DeWill2Live campaign has focused on establishing partnerships among representatives from the areas of public health, national law enforcement, schools, the victim’s family, and the community.

With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-based Interventions, the Bureau of Public Health will launch its initial DeWill2Live evaluation project, which will begin with an assessment of the campaign’s reach and effectiveness as an anti-drunk-driving awareness program. Being a nation-wide program, the campaign will recruit and train volunteers to assist in administering surveys in various schools and communities throughout Palau to measure specific target populations’ awareness of the campaign and its purpose. A random telephone survey will target 1,000 adults over 21 years of age and a pencil-and-paper, self-administered survey will target students in 7th – 12th grades and community college students exposed to the campaign.  In addition, the campaign will conduct focus groups with students, parents, and other key community members to assess the appeal and appropriateness of the campaign’s promotional materials, incentives, and program activities.

 

Contact

Gaafar Uherbelau
Bureau of Public Health
P.O. Box 6072
Koror, Republic of Palau 96940
Phone: (680) 488-2002
g.uherbelau@gmail.com