November 1, 2014

Drug and Alcohol Containment Task Force begins using grant money

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STERLING — The Arenac Drug and Alcohol Containment Task Force has begun its new campaign to help keep children of Arenac County away from drugs and alcohol.

The task force now has financial backing to advertise its tip-line, continue student programs, post a billboard for awareness, and has begun constructing a website with grant money received in September.

ADACT coordinator Lori Jacques said the tip-line is being used to for people who want to prevent teenagers from drinking or using drugs.

“We started this tip-line last year, but we did not have the money to really get the word out,” she said.

Jacques said she hopes people will use the service now that the ADACT has received a $600,000 grant that will be used to raise awareness about the ADACT and the programs they have.

The ADACT was one of 150 groups, nationwide, that received a Federal Drug Free Community Grant. The task force was operating on a budget of around $15,000 a year until receiving the grant that will split the $600,000 over the next four years.

Jacques said the tip-line is a good tool to keep children and teenagers safe.

“People can call anonymously and report any suspicious activity where (teenagers or children) are using drugs or alcohol,” she said.

Jacques said the tip-line is based in Saginaw and is operated by an answering service called Kings Communication. She said she believes the tip-line will result in the reduction of underage drinking and abuse of drugs.

Jacques said that when someone reports activity to the tip-line, the answering service takes the information and contacts the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department.

“If (someone) hears of a party that is taking place, they can call the number and the sheriff’s department will be notified,” she said.

To report activity, call 1-877-944-4429. Jacques said that the tip-line is just for reporting underage drinking or drug abuse. All other services are handled through the Sterling Area Health Center, 989-654-3501.

Funding from the Federal Drug Free Community Grant has also allowed the ADACT to keep its student program, Parent Resources Institute for Drug Education (PRIDE), going.

PRIDE is a program through which Standish-Sterling Middle School students get together and perform skits that promote prevention.

“Without the grant, we may not have been able to keep PRIDE going,” Jacques said. “With the grant, we are able to continue.”

She said the group performs skits about using tobacco and the importance of staying alcohol free.

“They really enjoy doing this,” Jacques said. “Instead of just telling about the effects of drugs and alcohol, they show it.”

Jacques said that construction of the ADACT website has also begun, and billboards have been placed in Standish.

“We just had a billboard placed on US-23 just south of Standish. Next month we will have one put up on M-61, that will remain all year,” she said. “The website will be simple. It will describe who we are and will have information for people to see if they want to join the ADACT, as well as have links to health education material.”

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