Funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services/SAMHSA, SWLAHEC implemented The Drug Education and PrevenTion of HIV (DEPTH) Project from October 1st, 2008 through August of 2013. This five year community collaborative project was based on SWLAHEC’s experiences in providing the SHIP Project from 2003-2008.  The DEPTH Project prevented substance abuse and HIV among African-American youth between the ages of 12 – 17 who live in high-risk minority communities of southwest Louisiana.  This project utilized small group interventions with a youth development approach to address and reach its goals.

The goal of this program was to reduce substance abuse among young people by strengthening beliefs that substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors do not fit with a positive and healthy lifestyle, as well as increase their commitment to avoid substance use and other high-risk behaviors. At the completion of the program, parents/caretakers of youth were more educated on the drug issues that face our youth and better understood how a home drug test could be used as a drug prevention tool. Our second goal was to reduce the transmission of HIV among young people by demonstrating an increased knowledge in HIV and prevention measures as well as a commitment to delay the initiation of sexual activity or reduce sexual activity.  Our third goal was to increase knowledge of HIV status among youth by providing free HIV counseling, testing and referrals.

From 2008 – 2013, The DEPTH Project served over 3,000 youth, between the ages of 12-18, from the Acadiana region.  For more information contact Brian Burton at

Email Newsletters with VerticalResponse