Addiction Prevention Coalition News

Entries for 'Sandor Cheka'

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Freedom Source is a relatively new nonprofit organization in Birmingham that provides hope and help to individuals and families trying to find solutions for drug and alcohol addiction.

The organization was born out of the frustrating search by one family to find drug and alcohol addiction service providers in the Birmingham metro area, according to its website. The Freedom Source became a reality in 2008 and to date has served more than 1,500 clients.

Sandor Cheka of Chelsea is the executive director. Cheka is a Samford University graduate and an ordained Baptist minister. In May 2010, he was invited to go to Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation from Birmingham to attend a conference put on by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. Birmingham was one of 12 cities with people invited to participate in the conference. The focus of the gathering was to learn how community partnerships could be developed to help people be successful in recovering from alcohol or drug abuse.

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Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Leadership Forum in Washington DC. It was an amazing experience to learn from folks all over the country. We had over 2700 people that work toward ridding their communities of substance abuse.

The Forum trains communities in substance abuse prevention techniques, strategies and evidence-based practices.  They brought in several wonderful speakers including the Surgeon General Regina Benjamin who worked for several years in Alabama. The Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Gil Kerlikowske, spoke as well.

I also visited with our legislative offices: Sewell, Sessions, Shelby, and Bachus. I met Congresswoman Sewell who was very kind and gracious. The purpose of these visits was to ask for support of our efforts as a coalition. All of the offices complemented us on our efforts and pledged their support.

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What a random and odd way to start a blog on reducing the effects of addiction in the Birmingham area. Many people have politely asked this exact question in their own way as we at The Addiction Coalition have started this journey to eliminate drug and alcohol addiction in our area. They have a great thought process because it seems to be an insurmountable summit that seemingly no one will ever climb. They don’t see how we can affect change of one of the most destructive forces in our community.

My first thought is that many people don’t realize how big this problem really is.

Did you know that drugs are at the heart of most major issues in the US?

  • 25% of the Healthcare costs of our Great Generation stems from substance abuse.
  • 1.4 billion lbs of toxic waste is poured into our environment.
  • Substance abuse causes 93.75% of the Dropout Rate among high school students.
  • 57% of women contracting the AIDS virus have been linked strictly to IV drug use, not to mention high risk behavior that stems from the use.
  • 60% of teen suicide is linked to substance abuse.
  • Every 2.5 minutes a teen is arrested for involvement in a drug or alcohol related crime.
  • Over 90% of the murders in our community stem from drugs.
  • 25% of divorcees cite substance misuse as the reason for the divorce.

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