Working together to prevent substance abuse

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(A Message from Anita Alvarez, Cook County State’s Attorney)


Substance abuse plagues our communities in numerous ways.  Whether it is the street violence caused by drug turf wars, traffic accidents caused by those driving under the influence or missed work or school days from the affects of use, it has the potential to directly affect every one of us.

Education about the consequences of substance abuse needs to start early.  Many schools offer awareness and prevention programs either through health class curriculum or by inviting guest speakers, such as representatives from the State’s Attorney’s Community Outreach Unit, to talk to students about the dangers of drugs.  As parents, we need to set a positive example for our children and keep the lines of communication open and honest about drug use.

Additionally, we should encourage children to get involved in other activities that will keep them occupied and make it less likely that they will experiment with drugs and alcohol.  The State’s Attorney’s Office holds an annual art contest where middle school students are encouraged to create posters demonstrating healthy and positive alternatives to drug use.  Thirteen posters are chosen from the hundreds of entries we receive and then featured in the next year’s calendar.  The contest for the 2012 calendar was recently announced and the entry deadline is March 31, 2011.  I look forward to this event as I’m always amazed at the creativity and talent that is displayed by our young contestants!  For more information on the contest, visit our website:

If your child isn’t a budding artist there are many other activities they can participate in.  Whether they enjoy sports, music, reading, or arts and crafts, there are countless opportunities available through our schools, churches, community centers and park districts.  You just have to take the time with your child to find out where their interests lie and seek out opportunities to broaden their knowledge and experience.

I wish you and your family and safe, happy and healthy New Year!

Anita Alvarez

Cook County State’s Attorney

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