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Coalition forms to prevent drug and alcohol abuse among Antrim County kids

ANTRIM COUNTY – More than 500 Northern and Central Michigan deaths have been attributed to drug overdoses and poisoning since 2000, according to Northern Michigan Substance Abuse Services (NMSAS). Prescription drugs accounted for the majority of those deaths. Children age 12 to 17 abuse prescription drugs more than ecstasy, crack cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines combined.

Alarming statistics like these have inspired a group of Antrim County parents, professionals and other community members to form the Antrim County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition. Organized by Amy Brown, Community Health Coordinator for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, the Coalition's objectives are to educate the public and promote a healthy community that is free of drug and alcohol abuse, with a special focus on protecting the county's youth. The Coalition will hold its next meeting on Wednesday, November 7 at 6pm in the Mancelona Family Resource Center, 205 Grove Street, Mancelona.

“This is a bigger concern for Antrim County than many people realize,” Brown said. “In a survey of more than 300 Antrim County kids, nearly half said they had tried alcohol by age 13, and also reported that marijuana was easy to get. More than 60 percent said it was easy to get cigarettes, and 12 was the average age for first-time tobacco use.”

Brown says the Coalition, still in its early stages, is now comprised of seven members. She encourages anyone with a stake in Antrim County's future to attend the upcoming November 7th meeting, consider joining the group and help it gain momentum. For more information, contact Brown at (231) 587-4370 or

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For assistance with tobacco, drug and alcohol concerns, contact the Health Department at (800) 432-4121, or visit for additional resources.