CADCA Editor Fevereiro 15, 2024

Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition Celebrates 20 Years of Prevention – Coalitions In Action

This January, the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC) celebrated its 20º anniversary working to promote substance use prevention and create a safe and healthy environment for Meridian residents to live, work, and raise a family. From humble beginnings to now consisting of more than 600 members and 40 community partners, the coalition stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and effective planning for long-term sustainability. In a recent interview, Kendall Nagy, Director of the Meridian Anti-Drug Coalition, provided insights into the coalition’s journey over the past two decades.

Formed under the leadership of Former Mayor Tammy de Weerd, the MADC was created in response to the pervasive issue of substance misuse cutting across all demographics. Acknowledging the need to engage community members as the path forward, the coalition worked tirelessly to establish a strong framework and identify sector leaders who would become future collaborators. Nagy stated, “Our success is the direct result of the partnerships and the longevity of the people that have been involved in prevention in this community.”

With over 70 events held annually, reaching 30,000 community members, the coalition relies on a diverse group of volunteers and passionate individuals dedicated to prevention. Programs have included prescription take backs, “Meth in Meridian”, the implementation of “Every Fifteen Minutes” in partnership with the Meridian Police and Fire Departments, and the Meridian Police Activity League’s “Recognize” program. More recently, the distribution of Narcan and implementation of school district policies on vaping have underscored the coalition’s multi-pronged approach to prevention efforts.

Another major focus of the coalition is driving change through policy and advocacy. By serving as a voice of reason to the Idaho State legislature on relevant topics, the MADC has successfully contributed to preventing marijuana legalization at the state level.

These initiatives have led to clear, positive outcomes. “Through collaborations, like our CATCH My Breath training with the Department of Health and Welfare, we’ve seen a decrease in tobacco, alcohol, and drug violations in schools by more than 25%,” said Nagy.

To celebrate reaching the milestone anniversary of 20 years, the coalition organized a celebratory event featuring notable speakers, including Mayor de Weerd and the current police chief. “This event was about recognizing the momentum we’ve built over the past 20 years, the partnerships that have been put into that, and rekindling the fire for the next 20,” said Nagy.

Looking ahead, the MADC’s goals include implementing additional evidence-based programs, increasing youth involvement, and continuing to champion the united efforts of MADC’s partners who built the foundation of the coalition, are at the heart of their prevention strategies, and will ensure MADC remains strong and enduring into the future.

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