CSAC Celebrates 30 Years
Jake Mosbach/Clinton HeraldClinton Substance Abuse Council Executive Director Kristin Huisenga speaks Friday at Clinton Middle School at the group’s annual meeting, this year celebrating 30 years.
CLINTON — Celebrating 30 years in 2018, the Clinton Substance Abuse Council is continuing to positively influence Gateway-area youths and parents and guardians when it comes to the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol.
The organization held its annual meeting Friday at Clinton Middle School, reflecting on past initiatives that have shed light on the presence of dangerous substances in Clinton and surrounding areas. Along with the Gateway ImpACT Coalition and the Camanche-DeWitt Coalition, the Clinton Substance Abuse Council has relationships with local law enforcement officials, school officials, and field experts to combat the rising number of influential drugs reaching young kids.
CSAC Executive Director Kristin Huisenga expressed her pride in the group’s efforts at Friday’s meeting.
“As far as we can tell, we’re one of the oldest coalitions not only in Iowa, but in the United States,” Huisenga reported. “This all started because (the original board) was concerned about youth substance use trends, and I think I can say we all have those same concerns today. That’s why we’re all in this room.”
The group’s vision has never wavered, evident by the group’s official philosophy printed in the 2018 annual report given at Friday’s meeting.
“As a result of the Clinton Substance Abuse Council’s influence, community coalitions in the Gateway area will have the support, knowledge, skills, resources, and structures they need to be successful in eliminating substance abuse and related behavioral health issues,” the report states.
Huisenga highlighted several of the group’s initiatives, including its campaign for area residents to safely turn in harmful substances, such as their excess prescription drugs, in order to keep them out of the hands of children.
One of the other various initiatives driven by the coalition, and one of the most popular, has been the “Hidden in Plain Sight” interactive display, which gives parents or guardians the chance to enter a simulated bedroom and attempt to identify new ways in which youths are hiding drug or alcohol-related items.
The project has allowed the coalition to open eyes in the community and keep caretakers up-to-date when it comes to recognizing the dangers of teen drug and alcohol use.
“We’re calling (the project) an ‘experience,’ and that’s been really cool,” Huisenga said. “We’re able to take the trailer and the project around to different schools and whatnot, so that’s been really awesome.”