Mundelein Stand-Up Task Force Awarded Federal Grant To Prevent Youth Substance Use

 
Kim Radoy
Updated 9/14/2018 10:30 AM
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Mundelein, Illinois -- The Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force (STAND-UP) has received funding for year 9 of the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grant to prevent youth substance use. The coalition focuses on reducing teen alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use, including vaping. The DFC program, created by the DFC Act of 1997 is the Nation's leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use and is directed by the Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Grants are provided to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.

"Since our first grant awards were made in 1998, the DFC Program has continued to expand its reach in communities across the country. It is a testament to the great work DFC coalitions are doing, together with community partners that include parent groups, schools, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, businesses, and others to prevent drug use and improve the health of communities," said ONDCP Deputy Director James W. Carroll. "Our local DFC coalitions are a key part of this effort because they are relentless in their work to prevent youth from initiating drug use and ultimately, saving more lives."

STAND-UP has been preventing teen drug use since 2007. After tragic accidents in Lake County in 2006 that claimed the lives of teenagers due to underage drinking and marijuana use, several local leaders in Mundelein including the Mundelein Police Department, Nicasa Behavioral Health Services, and the Lake County After School Coalition (LCASC), formed the Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force to try to prevent such incidents from occurring in Mundelein. During the course of the next 10+ years, STAND-UP secured state and federal grant funding, including the Drug-Free Communities Grant, to address underage drinking and youth marijuana use and has made great successes.

STAND-UP's data show that coalition work is effective. According to the Illinois Youth Survey, since 2008, the percentage of high school students who reported drinking alcohol during the past 30 days decreased by almost 30%-- down from 38% in 2008 to 26.7% in 2018. In addition, binge drinking (4-5 drinks in one session) decreased significantly from 28% of high school seniors who reported binge drinking during the past 2 weeks in 2008 down to 11% in 2018- an over 60% decrease. Similarly, fewer students are using marijuana this year than in years past. In 2008, 14% of 10th-grade students reporting using marijuana compared to 8% in 2018. The largest decrease was for 12th-grade marijuana use from 2010 to 2018. In 2010, 25% of 12th graders reported using marijuana compared to 15% in 2018.

"STAND-UP is successful in preventing and reducing teen drug use and the data over the past decade show it. The Mundelein Police Department is proud to play a major role in STAND-UP to keep our kids healthy and safe. However, the key to STAND-UP's success is the multiple community partners doing their part to create a healthy environment for our kids. We wouldn't be this successful without vital players such as our schools, parents, students, local government, churches, businesses, the Mundelein Park District, the Mundelein-Vernon Hills Rotary Club and many others," said Deputy Police Chief and STAND-UP Chairperson Don Hansen.

Nicasa Behavioral Health Services (Nicasa) has been the fiscal agent for STAND-UP's Drug-Free Communities Grant for the past 8 years. Bruce Johnson, CEO of Nicasa and Project Director the Drug-Free Communities grant says, "When communities work toward one goal they are successful. We are grateful that everyone has joined forces over the years to give our students their best possible future by supporting their decision to be drug-free and educating them about the risks of drug use. STAND-UP's initiatives are research-based strategies implemented according to substance abuse prevention best practices and they work. At the heart of these strategies is the army of community members that make it happen. While we are effective, STAND-UP could use more community partners to get even more done. There is no limit to our success when we all work together so please consider checking us out at our next meeting."

Megan Rastrelli, Mundelein High School Senior Class President and STAND-UP Student Leader says, "I joined STAND-UP because I wanted teenagers to understand that the decisions they make now are so valuable because they can impact their life later on and I wanted to give back to the community. One of my favorite experiences as a member of STAND-UP was the opportunity to connect with 6th-grade camp students at the Mundelein Park District this past summer. We taught them about the health risks of drug use using a Jeopardy game, but I was surprised to learn how much information they already knew. Realizing that kids younger than me understand the risks of drugs and alcohol shows that our work isn't going unnoticed and that we are starting to make a difference in their lives. I've heard stories about how hard it is to bounce back from bad decisions regarding drugs and alcohol, so I hope we can reach enough teens before they face those life-altering choices. I encourage students to join STAND-UP because you learn about leadership and health and you can create positive change in our community."

ABOUT STAND-UP

The Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force started in 2007 to prevent and reduce underage drinking and drug use among youth in Mundelein. The group is comprised of community leaders, organizations, schools, police, churches, youth, parents, and neighbors who are concerned about the health and safety of Mundelein youth. The Task Force meets the second Thursday of every month at the Mundelein Police Department from 8:30 am -- 10:00 am. Meetings are free and open to the public. For more information contact Task Force Chairman Deputy Chief Don Hansen at (847) 968-3779 or visit www.mundeleinstandup.org.

About CADCA

The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally. This is accomplished by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, training and special events. For more information about CADCA, visit www.cadca.org.

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