The federal Drug-Free Communities program is helping to drive down drug use in Wisconsin.
Commissioner Camille Solberg is helping the drug czar in getting our communities to be drug-free, and she's putting much of her attention on minorities, more specifically, with the Native American population.
"My passion has always been … wherever I'm seated or wherever I'm put I want to make sure that minority groups are never forgotten, especially our minority youth."
The Fond du Lac resident doesn't want to tell groups exactly how to use the federal grant money they are awarded to alleviate drug addictions. Solberg says the tribes could use the money to create their own commissions, according to their cultural needs.
"They have their own mission and their own way of resolving things within their culture and we wanted to give them the freedom to do that."
Solberg is pleased that tribal representation within the nationwide drug-free communities program has risen from 2.5-percent in 2006 to 7.3-percent in 2007. She's recommending that the drug czar continues to work with other federal partners so the Native American communities can continue to get financial help.
"Without us necessarily, you know, telling them how to do it. I want them to have the freedom to do their programs – establish their drug-free programs – according to, you know, their culture and how they know how to outreach their youth."
The federal program just last week awarded approximately $74 million in grants to 736 communities across the country. One requirement of getting grant money is that communities develop a long-term plan to reduce substance abuse.