A new Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator has begun working for the Livingston County Community Alliance.

The LCCA is a broad-based coalition aiming to reduce and prevent youth substance use while promoting a safe, drug-free lifestyle. At their regular meeting Tuesday night they welcomed back to their Executive Board, Megan Palmer. Palmer, who served as treasurer in 2010, had spent the last few years in Barry County. There she coordinated and implemented the Drug Free Communities grant for their Substance Abuse Task Force. She said she was excited to be back in Livingston County in this new role as Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator. One of the biggest challenges she said she faces is the stigma around substance use, and helping people grow to be more comfortable talking about it.

She also discussed some goals she had over the next few years with building their coalition, their base, getting more people involved, and more education out there. She said it is important for people to know the dangers of youth marijuana use, prescription drug use, and what they can do about it. She also wants to help people learn how to better talk with their kids about use and what their expectations are or should be. Palmer told WHMI that she wants to engage with all sectors of the community, “Because everybody benefits when we prevent substance use.”

Palmer will also be chairing the Youth Marijuana Committee for the LCCA. She hopes to bring in speakers knowledgeable in marijuana law, how dispensaries and grows can affect communities, and proposed ballot language. For more information or to get involved with the LCCA, check out their website, www.livingstoncountycommunityalliance.org. (MK)