Leeward Initiative addressing drug and alcohol issues in Mason County. 

September 14, 2017

 

Leeward Initiative addressing drug and alcohol issues in Mason County. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

AMBER TOWNSHIP — A coalition formed in 2016 to tackle substance abuse issues in Mason County has formally launched its name and logo. The Leeward Initiative is a multi-agency group formed to address four priority areas: Underage alcohol use, synthetic drug use, use of opiates and heroin, and marijuana use among youth and pregnant/breastfeeding women.

The group’s members includes law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, public health professionals, substance abuse treatment providers, pharmacies, healthcare professionals, human service agency representatives, and youth services representatives.

Earlier this week, the coalition held its monthly meeting and revealed the logo and name.

“Leeward is a sailing term which means to be on the safe side,” said group Katie Miller of Health Department District No. 10. “Leeward means it’s kind of a safe harbor for the community, to shelter from the storm.” Miller said the name symbolizes Mason County’s geographical location to the Lake Michigan shoreline as well. She said substance abuse causes a lot of turbulence in people’s lives and the purpose of the coalition is to be a safe place to calm that turbulence.

The group has been active. In the area of opiate prevention, it has established medication disposal units at Ludington Police Department, Scottville Police Department, and the Mason County Sheriff’s Office. It is also working on creating public messages on opiate risks and also supporting naloxone training opportunities.

It is making presentation to various community groups about marijuana topics involving youth and pregnant/breastfeeding women.

It is also sponsoring activities for teens and sponsoring alcohol free family activities.

The coalition is also working with legislators in Lansing to tackle restriction of synthetic substances.

The group meets monthly at the West Shore Educational Service District building at 2130 W. US 10-31.

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