DHS awards grants in effort to support statewide network of substance use prevention coalitions

For the Tomahawk Leader

WISCONSIN – The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently awarded grants to three entities in an effort combat substance use in the state.

Through the grants, DHS said in a release, it has “renewed its commitment to a statewide network of substance use prevention coalitions” – the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth.

Community Advocates, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute and Northeastern Wisconsin Area Health Education Center will act as regional coordinators for the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, which supports the work of more than 100 community coalitions dedicated to reducing the issues that arise from the use of drugs.

“By working with Community Advocates, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Northeastern Wisconsin Area Health Education Center and the substance use prevention coalitions they support through the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth, we can make a larger collective impact in developing and implementing efforts that create strong, healthy communities,” said DHS Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge. “We are grateful for the collaboration of our regional and local partners in this work.”

Initially created by DHS in 2007 as an organization focused on reducing substance use among youth, the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth now focuses on substance use prevention for all ages.

“Regional coordinators support local coalitions in implementing media campaigns, presentations, programs and other activities, as well as policies that limit access, availability and acceptability of alcohol and other drugs to reduce the impact of substance use on individuals and communities,” DHS stated.

Alliance for Wisconsin Youth regional coordinators are also known as regional prevention centers and provide guidance and funding to coalitions in their service areas. There are five regions, including the Northern Region, which encompasses Lincoln, Ashland, Bayfield, Florence, Forest, Iron, Langlade, Marathon, Oneida, Portage, Price, Sawyer, Taylor, Vilas and Wood counties.

The Marshfield Clinic Research Institute is the regional coordinator for the Northern Region and all federally-recognized tribal nations.

The regional coordinators have each been awarded $120,919.00 each year for the next five years. Marshfield Clinic Research Institute and Northeastern Area Health Education Center are each due to receive $241,838.00 per year, as both support two regions.

DHS said the grants are funded by Wisconsin’s share of the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, which is designed to cover costs related to addressing substance use prevention priorities established by DHS, including underage drinking, adult binge drinking, opioid use for non-medical purposes among all ages and substance use among pregnant people.

In recent years, the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth has helped DHS launch three campaigns that provide information about the importance of reducing stigma around drug use to support treatment and recovery (Real Talks Wisconsin), the prevalence and dangers of opioids (Dose of Reality) and the risks and consequences of underage drinking (Small Talks).

Coalitions that belong to the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth must include representation from different communities they serve, including youth, parents, educators, health and human services professionals, law enforcement officers, business owners, people involved in civic organizations, elected officials and spiritual leaders, according to DHS.

Find more information, including details about how to establish a coalition, on the Alliance for Wisconsin Youth website at www.allwisyouth.org/.

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