November 24, 2014

Arenac Drug and Alcohol Containment Task Force receives grant

James Kuch
ADACT members and supporters met to discuss the new grant and possible uses of the money.
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STANDISH — The Arenac Drug and Alcohol Containment Task Force will receive approximately $600,000 over the next five years, thanks to a new federal grant.

ADACT coordinator Lori Jacques said the coalition was one of 150 groups which received a Federal Drug Free Community Grant out of 529 applicants.

“People apply nationwide for this grant,” Jacques said. “We are going to be able to do so much more in the community.”

The task force, which began in May 2007, has been operating on a budget of around $15,000 per year. Jacques said that money has gone into activities that the ADACT does in the community. With the new five-year grant in place, the ADACT will receive around $104,000 the first year and approximately $125,000 the next four years. Jacques said the group will be up for a renewal of the grant after five years.

“The group started out focusing on 14- to 24-year-olds, educating them on the dangers of drinking and driving,” she said. “We have now expanded to inform people about the misuse of prescription drugs.”

ADACT director Pam Yanoski said the group will continue its mission, but it will be on a bigger scale.

“We want to mirror what we have (already) done, but now it will be bigger and better,” Yanoski said. “You have made this possible,” She said to the task force.

One thing that the ADACT wants to do is advertise more and get its name out to the community Jacques said.

“We have money to advertise now,” she said. “We are going to get into town hall meetings, create a hotline, get billboards, and create a website.”

Jacques said she believes the coalition will be able to educate the community more about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

“Our voice is stronger,” she said. “We want to make our presence felt.”

Jacques said the ADACT will be able to continue to pass out surveys and get into schools, which she believes makes a difference.

Results from recent surveys passed out by the ADACT, to local high schools and middle schools, show changes in a number of alcohol- and drug-related categories.

For example, according to the survey results from the ADACT, the precentage of middle school students who say they have ever consumed alcohol is down from 22.7 percent in 2008, to 15.6 percent in 2010. The survey shows that the percentage of high school students who have consumed alcohol is down from 74.2 percent in 2008, to 66.7 in 2010.

“We are a need in this community,” Jacques said. “Data shows there needs to be further education about the consequences of underage drinking and prescription drug abuse and drinking and driving.”

She said she wants to see the ADACT grow over the next few years.

“We want to keep growing and get more people on board,” Jacques said.

Anyone interested in joining the ADACT can call Lori at the Sterling Area Health Center, 989-654-3501.

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