Drug fighters learn new strategies

DeKALB – Members of the DeKalb County Partnership for a Substance-Abuse Free Environment represented DeKalb County at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s 23rd annual National Leadership Forum.

Capri Smith, manager of prevention and community education at Ben Gordon Center, Laura Miller, prevention specialist at Prevention and Community Education at Ben Gordon Center, Melissa McAvoy, health educator at the DeKalb County Health Department, Carinna Corbett from DCP/SAFE’s Youth Action Group and her father, Thomas Corbett, headed to the Washington, D.C. area to join more than 2,000 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from throughout the country.

DCP/SAFE was excited to spend several days with similar organizations from across the county, learning and honing its prevention skills. DCP/SAFE hopes to come back re-energized, with new strategies to tackle alcohol and substance abuse in DeKalb County.

The forum covered a wide range of topics, including preventing prescription drug abuse, developing policies to reduce underage drinking and examining marijuana and illicit drug use in youth.

In addition to participating in workshops and plenary sessions with experts at the local, state and federal level, the local coalition planned to participate in statewide meetings and a special session that focused on marijuana legalization and medical marijuana.

DCP/SAFE  scheduled meetings with U.S. representatives and senators at the Forum’s Capitol Hill Day event on Wednesday, Feb. 6, to discuss current topics in DeKalb County.

The coalition has recently switched its main goals for prevention from prescription drugs and alcohol to marijuana and alcohol to better impact the community with current prevention techniques.

DCP/SAFE has advocated against Illinois House Bill 30, “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis,” brainstormed a local zoning ordinance related to medical marijuana dispensaries, and worked on building the 40 Developmental Assets in DeKalb County youth and bringing all sectors of DeKalb County together to prevent alcohol and substance abuse in local youth.

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