Danville - U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson today announced a $100,000 grant for Prairie Center Health Systems, the agency’s fourth year of funding from the National Office of Drug Control Policy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“I am proud to champion the work of the Prairie Center. That the center’s work is recognized in this way is testament to the innovation, compassion and effectiveness of their people and their programming,” Rep. Johnson said. “The heinous effects of drug and alcohol abuse have robbed too many people of their lives. Prairie Center and the Vermilion Prevention Coalition are reclaiming those lives.”
Prairie Center is the leader of the Vermilion Prevention Coalition, a group of local agencies and individuals working together to prevent and reduce alcohol and drug abuse among youth. The comprehensive alcohol and drug prevention education and treatment agency, located at 128 North Vermilion Street in Danville, partners with local government, schools and agencies such as Teen Reach, Vermilion Advantage and Big Brothers and Big Sisters to get the anti-drug message to youth, adults and communities throughout the county.
“Collaboration is the backbone of successful prevention campaigns,” said Betty Seidel, director of development at Prairie Center. “Prairie Center has forged meaningful community partnerships with the assistance of the Drug Free Communities grant, achieving results we would not otherwise be able to achieve.”
Patrick Leary, chief executive officer of Prairie Center, said the center serves 11 schools in Vermilion County.
“The Drug Free Communities grant has allowed us to provide additional support to rural school students who are at risk for substance abuse,” he said.
Though the battle continues, the most recent national survey on drug use shows a decline in the use of illicit drugs by youths ages 12-17, dropping from 11.2 percent in 2003, to 10.6 percent in 2004 and 9.9 percent last year. Much of this decline is credited to the grassroots efforts of groups like the Vermilion Prevention Coalition.
In addition to school-based efforts, Prairie Center sponsors community-wide events such as the recent Hoopeston Teen Town Hall, Danville Area First Night on New Year’s Eve, and the annual Red Ribbon Drug Free Kids Campaign.