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Community Celebrates 20 Years of Prevention with the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition

MERIDIAN- Members of the community came together on January 25, 2024 to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition. Attendees celebrated past work done by the coalition, recognized work which is currently being done, and were provided a look into the future of substance abuse prevention in the City of Meridian.

Founded by former Mayor Tammy de Weerd in January 2004, the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition’s mission is to promote substance abuse prevention and strengthen the community. By doing so, they are helping to create a safe and healthy environment for Meridian residents to live, work, and raise a family. The coalition has a large and committed team, consisting of more than 600 members and 40 community partners who donate their time and resources to make a positive impact in our community. The united efforts of MADC’s partners built the foundation of the coalition, are at the heart of their prevention strategies, and will ensure MADC remains strong and enduring into the future.

Speaking on the formation of the Meridian Anti- Drug Coalition, Former Mayor Tammy de Weerd acknowledged the impact of substance abuse, saying it “crosses all economic levels, ages, backgrounds, and education.” When she formed what was then the Mayors Anti-Drug Coalition, she hadn’t yet realized the impact addiction would have on her own family. A driving force for forming the coalition came from her understanding that the “greatest solution to meet societal needs is to tap into the passion of our citizens.” This led to many early programs including: prescription take backs, “Meth in Meridian”, the implementation of “Every Fifteen Minutes” in partnership with the Meridian Police and Fire Departments, and the Meridian Police Activity League’s “Recognize” program.

Police Chief Basterrechea spoke on the current state of drug policy in the State of Idaho and the work being done at the legislature regarding mandatory minimum sentencing for fentanyl, the influence of Cartels in the state, drug induced homicides, and the legalization of marijuana. He emphasized the impact of the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition’s prevention mission, being the “voice of reason” when it comes to substance abuse prevention at the Idaho State legislature.

Finally, attendees heard from current Director for the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition Kendall Nagy, on the impact prevention work has made. Speaking specifically on the visible impact in schools, Kendall Nagy presented new data from West Ada School District on changes they have seen since implementing “CATCH My Breath, an evidence based vaping prevention program. “Since implementing the program, violation data from WASD shows a decrease in tobacco, alcohol, and drug violations of 25%”. Kendall Nagy thanked the many community partners, volunteers, and coalition members who have made the past twenty (20) years a success.

The Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition would like thank Albertsons Market Place for providing lunch for today’s event as well as SCHEELS and Northpoint Recovery for their contributions to the success of today’s events. Additionally, the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition extends their gratitude to their volunteers, partners, and members of the community who have contributed to the work of the coalition.
 
For more information on the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition, a list of events, and family resources, please visit www.meridianmadc.org or email madc@meridiancity.org.

About the author

Stephany Galbreaith

Communications Manager

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