Mission & History
MCSAAC is a prevention organization. Our intent is to delay—or completely prevent—the use of addictive substances before they become a medical problem. MCSAAC staff provides technical assistance and financial support to eleven Local Prevention Councils and school-based youth groups. Educational programs operate at the grassroots level for maximum impact. Environmental programs include counter-marketing and collaboration with businesses to help stop underage and irresponsible drinking, and the sale of tobacco to youth. An “asset building” approach guides MCSAAC as it works with communities to develop new opportunities for teenagers to work, play, and contribute to their towns as healthy, valued citizens.
MCSAAC supports health teachers in middle schools. Children learn about the deleterious effects of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use on their bodies; MCSAAC augments the curricula with materials and resources for classroom learning. Where possible, we reinforce teachers’ messages with summer and after-school programming. MCSAAC staff participates in health fairs, leads seminars, and provides interactive workshops on a variety of topics including prescription drug abuse, depression, smoking, and underage drinking.
A primary function of the RACs is to serve as the repository of substance abuse data. MCSAAC obtains its information from DMHAS, DPH, DOE, DOT, and the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. We track drug use trends among teens: nearly all schools in our county administer Search Institute student surveys. MCSAAC provides cost-free surveys to the remaining schools. Finally, MCSAAC tracks adult use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs through anonymous, random household surveys and business surveys. All of this information helps the Local Prevention Councils to develop the best possible strategies for dealing with substance abuse at the local level.
The MCSAAC Advisory Board consists of twenty-five individuals from the fields of health, education, law enforcement and business, along with clergy, parents, youth, and people in recovery. The board meets bi-monthly to make programming and fundraising decisions.
MCSAAC is not an independent organization; rather, it is the largest council of the Business Industry Foundation of Middlesex County (BIF). BIF was founded by members of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce and in 1987 became a 501(c)3 nonprofit. BIF promotes employment, education and skill training, and the maintenance of community health through substance abuse prevention. Its Board of Directors is composed of fourteen leaders in the business and nonprofit sectors. Three members of the MCSAAC Advisory Board serve concurrently on the BIF Board of Directors.
The State of Connecticut instituted the system of Regional Actions Councils in 1989. Together, the thirteen RACs constitute the Connecticut Prevention Network, working together on statewide advocacy and prevention projects.