In 2006, local high school students took a survey about their attitudes and usage-habits of drugs and alcohol. The results of these surveys indicated that students in our community were drinking at levels significantly above regional and national levels. In collaboration with LEAD, a group of concerned citizens formed a task force in December 2006 to examine these issues. The task force, now known as the Speak UP! Prevention Coalition has now grown to over 100 people who are committed to being part of the solution to reduce underage alcohol and drug use. In the years 2008, 2010, and 2012 students in grades 6-12 were surveyed again, and the results confirmed the need for continued action.
In 2010, the SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition was awarded a federal Drug Free Communities grant. With members from across all sectors of the community, the coalition uses a data-driven approach to achieve results. Using data from the biannual Illinois Youth Survey, and professional evaluation from Community Systems Group, our coalition is able to disseminate the following:
- The predominant youth substance abuse issues in our community (i.e. alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, etc),
- The root causes of these issues,
- Workable prevention strategies,
- Areas most in need of enforcement or cultural/environmental change
- How to call the community to action!
Achieve the mission with community wide, best-practice initiatives in education, communication, enforcement and support to change the culture and environment of underage drinking in Lake Forest, Lake Bluff and Knollwood.
Specific objectives of the Task Force are:
- Increase the awareness and understanding of the extent of the underage drinking problem in the community and the risks/consequences of drinking for youth and for parents.
- Engage the entire community (parents, government, churches, schools, athletic organizations, clubs, civic groups, etc.) in the effort to significantly reduce underage drinking.
- Reduce availability of alcohol to youth.
- Increase the support for youth to be alcohol free and pursue healthy lifestyles.
Want To Learn More About The Coalition?
We hope you will consider joining our coalition and becoming part of the solution! New members are always welcome. Click here for our 2012-2013 meeting schedule. Please contact our office if you have any questions.