Prevention Efforts in Kanabec County

Talk Early, Talk Often 

It could be as simple as talking early and talking often. The “Talk Early, Talk Often” campaign is organized by the Better Together Community Coalition of Kanabec County to educate and empower parents and caregivers to have ongoing conversations with the young people in their lives around drugs and alcohol.

Research has shown that although it may seem like kids aren’t listening — they really are. Parents are role models for kids and your views on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can strongly influence how they think about them. Make talking about drugs a part of your general health and safety conversations — starting as early as elementary age and continuing on from there.

Mora Rocks the Park

The City of Mora and the Better Together Coalition host summer activities at the Library Park in Mora and Kids Kingdom in Mora. Community Partners help sponsor events each week between June and August. 

Compliance Checks

The Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office has been conducting alcohol and tobacco compliance checks since 2001. Compliance checks involve an underage decoy who attempts to purchase alcohol or tobacco from a retailer. Retailers are considered compliant when they refuse to sell alcohol or tobacco to a youthful looking person who cannot prove they are of legal age. If a sale is made, violators are prosecuted.

Responsible Beverage Service Training

Responsible Beverage Service Training is required for establishments that have a license to sell and/or serve alcohol in Kanabec County and is offered twice annually, at no cost, since 2008. This training equips alcohol servers and sellers with the knowledge and skills they need to comply with alcohol beverage service laws and thereby prevent underage drinking, excessive alcohol consumption and related harms.

Training are also available on an as needed basis by contacting the Better Together Coalition Coordinator, Patti Miller. Ph. 320.679.6321 or

National Drug Take Back Day

Kanabec County has participated bi-annually in the National Drug Enforcement Administration Drug Take-Back Day since 2011. The National Drug Take-Back Day aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of these medications.  This initiative has been a collaborative effort among the Drug Enforcement Agency, Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office and Better Together Coalition. To date approximately 4900 lbs. of medication has been collected. Drugs collected are brought to an incinerations facility for proper disposal. 

Opioid Education and Awareness

The Better Together Coalition and Welia Health have worked together to provide education and awareness events for the public on several occasions over the past five years. The “Know the Truth” group from MN Adult and Teen Challenge spoke to 100+ community members at and Opioid Forum in October of 2016. More recently, in 2020, we invited the community to a presentation, “Change the Outcome” which focused on opioid education, the disease of addiction, prevention and how to address the opioid epidemic. 

Drug Drop Box

We have a safe and convenient method of prescription and non-prescription drug disposal. The drop box is located in the Kanabec County Jail Lobby, 100 S Vine St, Mora, MN 55051. It provides secure access 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

There are many benefits to having a local prescription drug drop box including keeping narcotics off the street, away from children, as well as protecting our environment and water supply.

For more information about proper drug disposal follow this link to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Social Host Ordinance  

Kanabec County and the City of Mora passed social host ordinances in 2010. These ordinances make persons criminally responsible for hosting events or gatherings where persons under 21 years of age possess or consume alcohol, regardless of whether the person hosting the event or gathering supplied the alcohol. Enforcement of these ordinances is ongoing, and violators continue to be prosecuted.

State and National Prevention Training

Coalition members have many opportunities to attend various trainings and conferences every year. While some are offered as part of a local coalition meeting, others are offered statewide by the Minnesota Prevention Resource Center or nationally by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). These trainings equip coalition members with knowledge and skills of prevention programs, practices, and policies. 

Youth and Young Adult Engagement

Youth enrolled in the Mora and Ogilvie School Districts have been involved in a variety of prevention projects in Kanabec County. Coalition members recognize that both youth and young adults have the power to be a positive role model and promote healthy behavior among their peers.  They also have the power to influence key decision makers to support a healthy environment.  The coalition has and will continue to work with community and school groups to engage youth and young adults in its prevention efforts.

Mora Rocks the Park, which was originally named, Positivity in the Park, began in 2017 with the help of students from the Above the Influence group at Mora High School. In the past five year we have seen in increase in families and children utilizing the park for positive interactions. The City of Mora redesigned the basketball court layout, added pickleball courts, and additional playground equipment. We’ve collaborated with a variety of partners over the last five years as well – Welia Health, Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office, Anytime Fitness, Mora Area Fire Department, East Central Arts Association, BADGES, Kanabec County Family Services, and Mora Boy Scout Troop 191.  

DATA Collection

The coalition collects existing and new data on a regular basis to assess community needs, make plans for action and evaluate its progress. Data on alcohol, tobacco and other drug use has been collected via surveys, interviews, environmental scans, and focus groups.  The coalition also collaborates with various local organizations in Kanabec County to collect consumption, consequence and other related data.

Regular Collaborative Meetings

Coalition members meet monthly for to share information, strategize and plan for action. Some coalition members also meet regularly for the Communications and Epidemiological Workgroups. Additional committees are formed as needed to work on specific policies or other initiatives.  

Prevention Funding

Funding for prevention efforts in Kanabec County has come from a variety of sources over the past several years.  Since SACK (now Better Together) was established in 2006, the coalition has received funding from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division and the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Prevention funding is an investment in our community that improves health outcomes and reduces costs associated with substance abuse.


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