Originally Published: February 22, 2014 6 a.m.
MATForce received top national honors as Coalition of the Year from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). MATForce received its award before an audience of more than 2,500 substance abuse prevention and treatment specialists from throughout the country in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 6 at the CADCA 24th annual National Leadership Forum. MATForce was selected for its success in reducing youth prescription drug abuse and underage drinking.
CADCA's National Leadership Forum is the nation's largest training event for community drug prevention leaders, including government, youth, parents, educators, law enforcement and faith-based groups, as well as treatment professionals and researchers.
MATForce approaches the reduction of prescription drug abuse by employing a variety of projects, including: reaching out to doctors and pharmacists, educational presentations in schools and in the community, a media campaign, safe disposal practices at Dump the Drugs events and with prescription drug drop boxes, plus youth poster and video contests.
Verde Valley Medical Center and Yavapai Regional Medical Center took a lead role by implementing policies to limit the prescribing of opioid medications from emergency departments. Pharmacists, physicians and dentists who enrolled in the state's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program helped reduce the diversion of drugs for illegal use. MATForce staff and volunteers provided one-on-one educational workshops reaching 5,859 students throughout the county.
The result has been a decline in prescription drug abuse among youth. The Arizona Youth Survey show a 28 percent decline between 2008 and 2012. MATForce also has many projects directed at preventing underage drinking, which helped lead to a 22 percent decline between 2006 and 2012 according to the AYS.
For more information on MATForce, visit matforce.org.