A six-year-old girl came home from school one spring day. She was so excited about receiving an A+ on her art project that she had worked so hard on. As she lept off of the bus with her project in hand, all that ran through her mind was running to her older brother and showing him her accomplishment. She ran up the steps, unlocked the door with her key and ran inside. She ran up the stairs dropping her backpack on the stairs and knocked on her brother’s door. “Ryan!!!” she called, “I did it!!! Look it!!!” After no answer, she grabbed the door knob and turned it to open it. The hinges creaked. She stepped inside and just screamed and fell to the floor. To this day, she still remembers the lifeless body of her 15-year-old brother laying on the hardwood floor among a sea of prescription drugs and empty alcohol bottles. Although she didn’t understand it all then, she grew up and promised that she would never partake in anything that had killed her brother. And she kept that promise.
The fight against underaged drinking, drugs, and substance abuse isn’t something new to society. Actually, it’s one of the most common ways that teens are tending to cope with societal and personal issues. Although it’s a very tragic epidemic, I’m happy to know that Michigan is stepping up to try and help prevent this issue from continuing to kill our young people.
Back in September, Michigan was one of 26 states to apply for the Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success II Grant and one of only 16 to receive $3.5 million to address these issues. The funding will be extended over the course of 3 years, making it about $1.2 million per year. The Michigan communities that will receive funding are Lake, Clare, Baraga, Roscommon, Gladwin, Luce, Genesee, Saginaw, Muskegon, and Wayne.
The grant will be used to provide comprehensive and data-driven substance abuse prevention strategies within these communities, in hopes of decreasing the number of young people who use and abuse alcohol and drugs.
Personally, I think that this is an excellent opportunity for Michigan to step up. I think all of us have known someone personally who has fallen victim to the side affects of drugs and alcohol abuse and misuse. Maybe not all of us have had an encounter like the previously mentioned girl, but we are all aware of what this epidemic has brought forth into society. I think it’s about time for each of us to step up and listen to the voices of our younger generations that are feeling as if they have nowhere to turn but in the direction of drugs and alcohol. It may not make a huge impact in a day or even a year. But if each one can reach one, maybe just maybe, we won’t have as many victims…