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A big step for a healthier community

A big step for a healthier community

Compiled by Diana Hendricks & Nicole Davis

Since August 2017, the Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free Coalition (CDFC) has been an all-volunteer nonprofit. Thanks to a federal grant, there is now funding for the executive director, Diana Hendricks, and a project coordinator, Jaimie Mosier.

Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free Coalition (CDFC) was awarded 2021 grant funding for its BG Youth Prevention initiative from Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Beech Grove CDFC will receive $125,000 annually for five years through CDC to establish and strengthen collaboration among community partners that will create an environment where youth grow into healthy, successful adults.

Formed through the Beech Grove Mayor’s Faith Based Round Table (FBRT) in 2017, CDFC has expanded across 35 community partners in Beech Grove and Marion County. Mayor Dennis Buckley stated that over the past year, overdose deaths nationwide has increased by more than 13 percent and locally overdose deaths have increased by more than 30 percent.

Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free
Coalition Executive Director Diana Hendricks says she is excited to have been awarded a 2021 Drug-Free Communities grant of $125,000 annually for the next five years to fund local youth substance prevention programming. (Photo by Nicole Davis)

“This gift to the Beech Grove CDFC will go a long way in reaching out to area youth to prevent the use of drugs and to educate young children on the dangers of drug use,” Buckley said. “I am excited about this award and very happy with the Beech Grove CDFC. They have done excellent work.”

Mosier stated that CDFC’s goal is to establish and strengthen community collaboration in support of local efforts to prevent youth substance misuse through strategies that reduce bullying, violence and ease of youth access to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

“The DFC grant is a blessing to help support the needs of the students and families of our school district. The funding is an important piece to continue our social, emotional and trauma base supports district wide,” stated Dr. Steven Bair, Beech Grove City Schools assistant superintendent.

The Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free Coalition participates in a South Grove Intermediate School Back to School night. (Submitted photo)

The coalition believes, “It takes a community to keep a community healthy. Together we make a difference in the future of our youth.” Those interested in joining the mission may contact Hendricks at bgdrugfree@gmail.com.

How will funding be used?

Diana Hendricks describes the 2021 seven-point strategy CDFC will use in their efforts at reducing youth substance misuse:

1) Educate our community on youth substance misuse trends through data sheets, public service announcements, educational videos, community events and social media platforms. Pastor Dan Bailey, chair of the Beech Grove FBRT stated, “I spent 30 years working in the criminal justice system here in Indianapolis. Over the years I have seen the correlations between increased substance misuse and criminal activity. I am overly concerned about the trend of younger individuals being arrested for the most serious of crimes. We must reach our youth with education and options that allow them real opportunities to avoid this downward spiral into addiction, incarceration and even death. As a pastor, and as the father of a teenager myself, I thank God for the love and compassion behind the efforts of the CDFC to shine a light onto this problem that for too long has been kept in the shadows of society.”

Pictured from left at a community training meeting, Building Community Collaboration: John Parks; Barbara Coulter; Hope McMickle, Speaker from IU-Bloomington Prevention Insights; David Johnson; and Diana Hendricks. (Submitted photo)

2) Enhance prevention skills of parents/guardians through interactive programs like SAMHSA’s “Talk. They Hear You.” that offers resources on replacing risk factors with protective factors in the environments of their youth; family strengthening through programs like “Active Parenting of Teens: Families in Action” which improves respectful and reciprocal communication during the challenging teen years (funding provided through Drug Free Marion County); youth-based national prevention recognition campaigns like “Red Ribbon Week” and “Students Against Destructive Decisions” (SADD); continued support for local school district evidence-based curriculum featuring life skills, anti-drug, anti-bullying and anti-violence education (funding provided through Family and Social Services Administration); and community-based through a monthly medicine/syringe take back day that encourages safe disposal of unused medicines and used syringes.

3) Provide prevention support through resources for mental health and addiction services, support groups including peer-to-peer, family and youth programs, as well as local free entertainment and volunteer opportunities. Joan Showalter, administrative director of Behavioral Health at Franciscan Health stated, “Treatment is a community effort. For an individual to be successful in their recovery, they need multiple options and coordinated care available. Prevention efforts are a key component of the treatment and recovery continuum.”

4) Improve local policies and processes that protect youth from easy access to alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs in our community through working with retailers on imposing more stringent compliance checks.

Pictured from left at a Veterans Day recognition at Beech Grove City Hall, Mayor Dennis Buckley, Kimber Sharp, Diana Henricks and Pastor Dan Bailey.

5) Establish consequences by working with BGPD and BGCS to heighten strict adherence to current law enforcement procedures for youth caught with alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs and publicizing businesses non-compliant with local underage tobacco and alcohol point-of-sale ordinances.

6) Work with local pharmacies to change the physical design of alcohol shelving/displays to a secure gated entry with posting “You Must be 21” to enter this area.

7) Work with the city of Beech Grove to modify policy and procedures to decrease the probability of youth risky behavior by CDFC supporting and partnering with BGPD and BG Citizens Patrol to strengthen patrol saturation during weekends and school breaks.

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