Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems hosted the 2016 annual meeting of ACAAP.
The meeting took place at the Illinois Great Rivers United Methodist Conference Center, 5900 South 2nd Street, Springfield, Illinois, 62711. Click here for a copy of the agenda.
Ed Wolkin, ACAAP President, welcomed everyone to the Annual meeting and conference. Anita Bedell, Executive Director, Illinois Church Action on Addiction and Alcohol Problems, introduced the following speakers:
Ken Wise, Saved by Grace Ministries, has been sober 34 years. He’s on the front line, picking up the pieces of those who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs. He was Saved by Grace and has a ministry singing and helping others to overcome substance abuse. Ken and his wife, Carla, sang, and he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award.
Jo McGuire, co-chair of the Marijuana Education Committee in Colorado and on the Board of Directors for the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association, gave a very impactful presentation on how Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana. She shared how talking points used to “sell marijuana” to the voters had not happened. Homelessness, marketing to teens, parents using marijuana, increase in emergency room visits, children ingesting marijuana edibles, and increases in marijuana driving crashes are some of the results of legalizing marijuana. The impact is documented in the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report. Jo McGuire shared how the marijuana lobby had stopped a referendum to place restrictions on marijuana to protect children. She stated, “You don’t create new money when marijuana is taxed, you direct the money you have to spend it on weed.”
Prof. John Kindt from the University of Illinois, an expert on Internet gambling, said Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is illegal under three Federal laws. He shared how the lobbying group is trying to change the law one state at a time and using social media to alert their “players” to contact Legislators. Prof. Kindt is the editor of the U. S. International Gambling Report, which contains a wealth of information and studies on all aspects of gambling.
Senator Kyle McCarter has served in the Illinois Legislature for seven years and has been outspoken in opposition to the legalization of marijuana. Senator McCarter shared how his daughter died from a heroin overdose and how they have supported efforts to prevent and help other girls who are addicted to drugs. Anita Bedell presented the Senator with the National Citation of Merit award.
Angela Camp, National Coordinator of Adolescent and Emerging Adult Marketing with Bradford Health Services, gave a presentation on the current trends in adolescent substance abuse, “United States of Numb”. She said 90% of addicted Americans began drug use before the age of 18 and said many teens are hiding drugs in plain sight. Today’s teens have more options for bad decisions and find out through social media or other teens how to disguise drug screens.
Ms. Camp gave a second presentation on the impact of social media on today’s drug culture. While the drug trade is controlled by adults, the immediate source of drugs for students is usually other students. As use progresses, youth identify more and more with the drug culture through music, clothing, video games, movies and television. Teens that have seen pictures on social media of other teens doing drugs are three times more likely to have consumed alcohol and used tobacco. Various apps can be purchased to turn your cell phone into a pot scale and to hide messages, photos, and other apps. The same forms of media can also be used to counteract the drug culture and support youth recovery.