The Logan County Opiate Task Force received a Health Living Grant from the AMA Foundation to fund the launch of the PERK (Positive Engagement Reaches Kids) Program for Logan County families.
The program will begin on Saturday with a half-day kick-off that will feature a fun and educational day to address the impact of medicine abuse on real families, to stimulate an informal discussion, and educate adolescents about substance abuse through an engaging presentation meant to challenge their behavior towards drugs and alcohol. The kick-off will take place at Union Station from 12-4pm.
Logan County Youth between 10 and 15 years of age, who are at risk for substance abuse, will be referred to the PERK Program. It is the goal of the group to include between 35 and 50 youth in this half-day event and then follow-up with ongoing after school opportunities.
The PERK Program also includes a component for parents to increase their understanding and confidence in preventing and addressing drug and alcohol issues. The multi-media training program called “Parents: You Matter,” was created by the Partnership at Drugfree.org and it is designed to be co-delivered by a range of community presenters, from law enforcement, prevention and treatment professionals, as well as educators and healthcare professionals. It aims to educate parents of teens and tweens about why kids use drugs and alcohol; what parents can do to protect their children, and tips on how to communicate with their kids, monitor activities, how to spot drug/alcohol use, and what a parent should do when they find it.
The Logan County Opiate Task Force was formed following the 2012 Community Health Risk and Needs Assessment, where drug abuse was identified as an area of risk and concern in Logan County. Members include: Mary Rutan Foundation, Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties, Consolidated Care Inc., Universal Home Health & Hospice Care, Kroger Pharmacy, Logan County Drug Free Youth Coalition, Logan County Family & Children First Council, Logan County Treatment Court, Joint Drug Task Force, Logan County Prosecutor’s Office, RTC Employment Services and other community partners.
The local data collected by the Opiate Task Force and its partners supports the need for such a program:
- From 2008 to 2011 the number of overdose related deaths in Logan County rose from 10% to 17%.
- 15% of our 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students in Logan County report that they see no or little risk in taking a prescription drug not prescribed for them.
- 50% increase in heroin use among Logan County students from 2008 to 2012.
“We are excited to have been awarded the Healthy Living Grant,” said Tammy Nicholl, Opiate Task Force Co-chair. “This grant allows us to continue to bring awareness and an educational opportunity to Logan County youth and their families.”