Jack Bryan, TADA Youth Group Leader, seated with Al Fredrickson, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (HHS), spoke at the MN State Capitol on Wednesday September 12, 2012 about the prevention efforts in Renville County with the RAPAD Coalition. This was a public discussion to celebrate Recovery Month.
Each September, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sponsors this nationwide celebration now in its 23rd year. This year’s theme, “Join the Voices for Recovery: It’s Worth It,” emphasized that while the road to recovery may be difficult, the benefits of preventing and treating mental illness and substance abuse are tangible, significant, and valuable. Every day, people in recovery achieve and maintain healthy lifestyles and make a positive contribution to their communities.
Jack spoke about some of the TADA (Teens Against Drugs and Alcohol) youth group activities that have helped reduce substance use in his school and communities of RCW (Renville County West). Some of these included annual Town Hall Meetings highlighting the new trends around substance use: a Positive Community Norms campaign with posters, radio ads and billboards to correct the misperception that all teens are using when in reality a small percentage of teens do so: county and city board presentations that have helped pass a county-wide Social Host ordinance and city ordinances in Danube and Renville: and the Youth Leadership Academy. He also let the audience hear about the RAPAD Coalitions other activities throughout Renville County, which included providing evidence-based prevention curriculum to schools and training for the teachers, initiating a Diversion program for first-time minor offenders of an alcohol or drug charge that includes a three-hour class: a Medication Disposal Program with the sheriffs office and supporting other youth groups county-wide, to name a few.
Speakers that day included people from the College St. Scholastica, Chicanos Latinos Unidos en Servico, (C.L.U.E.S.) William Mitchell College of Law, Augsburg College, Native American Section of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (HHS), the Regional Prevention Coordinator and Lead Prevention Specialist of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division of HHS.
To quote Jack from his speech at the capitol, “I’ve stayed involved with TADA because it keeps me doing positive things with other students who also want to do positive things and make positive changes.”
Annie Tepfer, Coordinator; www.rapad.org