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Center Links Communities to Fight Substance Abuse

Indianapolis Recorder
March 14, 1992

Community-based coalitions fighting the war on illegal drug and alcohol abuse now can turn to a national resource center designed to help them succeed.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently announced that it has made an initial grant in excess of $1.9 million to the Boston University School of Public Health to start the program, Join Together: A National Resource for Communities Fighting Substance Abuse.

David L. Rosenbloom, former commissioner of Health and Hospitals for the city of Boston, who will direct Join Together, said: "Substance abuse is at the heart of much of the violence and disintegration that plagues our communities and families.

The key to winning this war is for all groups in a community to join together in finding effective ways to reduce the harm cause by illegal drugs and alcohol."

Calvin Hill, former Yale University and Dallas Cowboys football star, and current vice president of the Baltimore Orioles, will serve as chairman for the Join Together National Advisory committee.

Other members include Milo Kirk, President of Mother Against Drunk Driving (MADD); William Celester, Director of Police in Newark, N.J.; Richard Donahue, President of Nike Shoes; Sue Rusche, executive director, National Families in Action; Jose Szapocznick, Ph.D., professor of psychology, University of Miami School of Medicine; and Anderson Spickard, M.D., Program Director, Fighting Back.

The award follows the success of the Robert Wood Johnson foundation program, Fighting Back, which was initiated in 1989. This $26.4 million project helped stimulate the emergence of hundreds of community substance abuse reduction initiatives around the country.

Fighting Back has become a model for a number of subsequent federal initiatives in which the foundation participated.

Each year, up to 30 outstanding leaders from community coalitions will be selected to participate in a national recognition and training program.

The program will provide local leaders with continuous access to others in similar positions and the latest research on effective ways to attack substance abuse.

Join Together is part of the Robert Wood Johnson foundation's overall strategy to reduce substance abuse.

The Princeton, N.J. - based philanthropy is the largest foundation solely dedicated to improving the health and health care of Americans.


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