Statewide Town Hall Meetings to Address Underage Drinking

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich and Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D., today outlined plans for a second series of community forums on alcohol to be held in more than 50 Illinois communities. The forums will be held during the week of March 31 through April 4.

"Alcohol continues to be the number one drug problem in Illinois and is a serious threat to the health and safety of our young people," said Gov. Blagojevich. "We encourage all citizens to become involved and join in the town hall meetings in their communities. Together we can find solutions to underage drinking and help prevent the senseless tragedies that happen when young people drink alcohol."

Officially called, Underage Drinking Prevention: Town Hall Meetings, the forums are part of a national effort to increase understanding and awareness of underage drinking and its consequences, and to encourage individuals, families and communities to address the problem.

These local meetings will give communities the opportunity to come together and discuss the extent and nature of the problem, discuss the latest research on underage drinking and its impact on both individuals and communities and to discuss how their community can implement the recommendations in The Surgeon General's Call to Action to prevent underage alcohol use.

The IDHS Division of Community Health and Prevention is organizing the 52 town hall meetings with assistance from local community leaders and substance abuse prevention experts. The town meetings are being funded through a grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). All participating communities will receive a $500.00 stipend and the Community Briefing Prevention Toolkit: Town Hall Meetings and collateral DVD training on how to conduct a town hall meeting, a facilitator's guide, and informational handouts.

"We want to build on the results of the previous town hall meetings and be proactive in engaging youth and families as well as community members in prevention," said IDHS Secretary Carol L. Adams, Ph.D. "Whether you are a parent, teacher, coach, retailer, clergy member or just a concerned citizen, you can help us in developing comprehensive and consistent interventions to reduce underage drinking."

According to IDHS statistics, more than 48,000 Illinoisans including 3,100 youth received treatment for alcohol addiction at state-funded programs last year. More than two-thirds of Illinois teenagers report use of alcohol and one quarter of Illinois high school seniors admit they have driven a car while under influence of alcohol. Half of all fatal automobile crashes involving teenagers are alcohol-related.

The mission of the DHS Division of Community Health and Prevention Office of Prevention is to promote and implement coordinated, innovative community-based prevention strategies and provide a wide range of comprehensive prevention efforts designed to prevent domestic violence; alcohol, tobacco, and other drug abuse; and juvenile delinquency.

Following is a list of the Illinois communities participating in the town hall meetings. More information is located at

Participating Community Resource
Aurora Aurora East CUSD #311
Barrington Barrington Area Community Drug Coalition
Beardstown Cass County Mental Health Association for Cass County Interagency Council
Belvidere Boone County Health Department - Boone County Drug Free Coalition
Chicago A Knock at Midnight
Chicago ABJ community Services, Inc.
Chicago Albany Park Community Center
Chicago Alternatives, Inc.
Chicago Bobby E. Wright Community Mental Health Center
Chicago Habilitative Systems, Inc.
Chicago Human Resource Development Institute, Inc.
Chicago SGA Youth and Family Services
Chicago South Side Help Center
Chicago The Miracle Center at the Gap Center
Chicago The Prevention Partnership, Inc.
Chicago Youth Outreach Services
Chicago Austin Town Hall
Clinton Dewitt county Human Resource Center
Danville Vermilion Prevention Coalition
Decatur Decatur Community Partnership
East Moline Stark County rural Mental Health Task Force
Elgin Elgin Drug and Gang Task Force
Eureka Woodford County Health Department
Evanston PEER Services
Freeport FHN JoDaviess County Alcohol and Other Substances Coalition
Galesburg Bridgeway, Inc.
Granite City Coordinated Youth and Human Services
Grayslake Lake County Underage Drinking Task Force
Homewood South Suburban Prevention Coalition
Hopkins Park Communication Outreach Committee
Kewanee Greater Kewanee Drug and Alcohol
Lincolnshire Stevenson Community P.R.O.U.D.
Marion Franklin-Williamson Human Services (Marion Partnership for Youth)
Mattoon I Sing the Body Electric
McHenry McHenry Area Character Counts! Coalition
Morris Grundy County ROE (Coalition for a Healthy Community)
Mt. Carroll Jo-Carroll Extension - Carroll County Substance Abuse Education Coalition
Mt. Vernon Jefferson County Board
Murphysboro Jackson County UI Extension Office (Murphysboro Youth and Recreation Center)
Paris CAMA, Inc.
Park Ridge Maine Community Youth Assistance Foundation
Paxton Ford County Coalition Against Family Violence
Pontiac Illinois Commission on Children and Youth
Princeton Youth Development Coalition
Quincy Adams County Health Department
Rockford City of Rockford Human Services Department - Drug Free Rockford
Springfield ILCAAP for Sangamon County Coalition on Underage Drinking
Tremont Tazewell County Health Department
Tuscola Douglas County Health Department - Douglas County RPG
Waukegan Lake County Health Department