(Springfield, IL) – A top U.S. drug prevention official this weekend appeared in Central Illinois to speak at an Illinois youth substance abuse prevention organization’s summer conference marking the group’s 40th anniversary.
Deputy Director for Demand Reduction David Mineta at the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy on Sunday attended and spoke at the opening ceremonies of the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute conference at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
The Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute, administered by the Springfield-based Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA) and which is celebrating its 40th anniversary, hosted nearly 550 Illinois youth at Eastern Illinois University who heard Mineta speak at the conference’s opening day regarding the role of young people in the battle against alcohol and drug abuse.
“The message that I have for the participants at the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute is that youth can be effective advocates for positive change in their schools and their communities to prevent drug and alcohol abuse,” said Mineta.
A former youth prevention program manager in San Francisco, Mineta, who oversees the agency’s newly created focus on programs for individuals in recovery from addiction, said, “Effective advocacy requires leadership skills and the ability to communicate the benefits of preventing drug and alcohol abuse.”
Mineta, who has held his post since June 2010, also brought greetings from President Barack Obama to the students attending the youth anti-drug forum.
“I also bring greetings to you from the President and note that the President firmly believes in youth and your ability and potential to make positive change in your communities,” Mineta said.
Mineta’s visit, which was the first time that a White House drug policy official has participated at the Teen Institute, launched the four-day conference that features other speakers, discussion groups, and workshops that aim to arm middle and high school students from across the state with the necessary leadership skills to persuade their friends, family, and neighbors that each has a role to play in the fight against alcohol and drug abuse, according to IADDA’s chief.
“The Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute provides youth the opportunity to meet new people, learn new skills, but, most importantly, to become a force for positive change in their schools and communities,” said IADDA CEO Sara Moscato Howe.
The conference, held on the Eastern Illinois University campus, runs from July 20 through July 24.