St. Clair County Substance Prevention through Early Action and Knowledge (SPEAK) is a new initiative by the St. Clair County Health Department. The program is designed to address substance abuse among area youth. This past summer several different agencies in St. Clair County came together through the program to talk about a plan to combat the problem. Many different groups were represented including law enforcement, schools, faith-based groups, and human service agencies. The group identified areas that needed attention, and they came up with some strategies for going forward.
On September 26th, the group will be sharing that plan. It is a five-year strategic plan that will address underage drinking, vaping, marijuana, and opioid use. Dr. Annette Mercatante, Medical Health Officer for St. Clair County, said, “The health and wellbeing of youth is a strategic priority in the St. Clair County Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), so the timing of SPEAK is excellent.” She went on to say, “The single most important predictor of a healthy future is healthy children and adolescents. Good health and a prosperous economic future go hand in hand.” The kick-off meeting will be at Central Middle School beginning at 6:30 PM on the 26th.