Middlesex County Substance Abuse Action Council
Mission & History
Mission & History 1990-2017
MCSAAC works to reduce substance abuse in Middlesex County. By coordinating grassroots, community activities, we’ve been able to reduce the negative impact of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs on our population, along with prescription drug abuse and addictive gambling. The health of children and young adults is our primary focus.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.
MCSAAC is a Regional Action Council authorized by DMHAS to administer federal funds to Local Prevention Councils. Additionally, MCSAAC obtains state and private grant funding for projects that benefit families in our fifteen-town region. Many towns are very supportive of MCSAAC, allocating from their town budgets an annual donation.
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.
In late 2017, the State of Connecticut consolidated the 13 Regional Action Councils with the five Regional Mental Health Boards. There are now five Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations (RBHAOs), RBHAO 2 serving Middlesex County. Please refer to the Connecticut DHMAS website for more information.
MCSAAC continues to serve our region’s families and businesses through collaboration with the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s Prevention Committee hosts seminars on the impact of alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace. The Chamber’s Healthcare Council Initiative partners with MCSAAC to address a myriad of substance abuse concerns. Please visit the chamber website for more information.