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Betty Mitchell,
Kingsway Regional School District,
Woolwich Township, NJ
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  Request from the Higher Education Center: Please Advocate for Campus Prevention  

Dear Friends:
As you know, the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention (HEC) was recently notified by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that it would not exercise the next year of its 4-year contract due to reduced funding availability for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Many of you have asked if you can protest to anyone about the Center’s closing, and the answer is yes, we’d greatly appreciate your help in advocating for campus prevention. 
Attached is a sample letter that can be used as is or personalized in any way you like. We especially encourage you to add a paragraph briefly describing the Center services you’ve received and specific ways these services have benefitted your institution/organization and helped you to be more effective. You are also welcome to create your letter, of course.
Please feel free to forward this request to others, keeping in mind that some electronic mailing lists do not allow attachments. If you do forward this message and/or send a letter, I’d appreciate it if you could copy me at

Who to Contact:
Please send a letter by email to as many of the following individuals as you have time to reach. If you only have time to send two messages, please send one to Secretary Arne Duncan and the other to an individual outside the Department of Education.
U.S. Department of Education
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education
Deborah Delisle, Assistant Secretary
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education 
U.S. Department of Education
David Esquith, Director
Office of Safe and Healthy Students 
U.S. Department of Education
The White House
Vice President Joe Biden
The White House 
Lynn Rosenthal
White House Advisor on Violence Against Women 

Members of the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies
This subcommittee is involved in decision-making about these topics. If you live in any of the states (for Senators) or congressional districts (for House members) of these committee members, we’d appreciate it if you could write to them. On the attached document, Senate members and House members are listed alphabetically by state along with contact information for their offices. 
If no email address is listed, you can submit the text of the letter via a web form on their website. These are generally easy to find on the home page (e.g., “email the Senator,” “share your thoughts” or similar.)Please indicate in the letter that you are a constituent.

Other influential individuals
You might also want to contact other U.S. Senators and Representative or others who you think might make a difference in advocating for funding support to help colleges and universities to design and deliver effective prevention programs for alcohol, drug abuse, and violence-related problems. 

For two decades, HEC has helped institutions of higher education address the harmful effects that alcohol, substance abuse, and violence have on students and communities. We hope these advocacy efforts will signal to our elected officials that these services are needed and valued in our campus communities. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. We truly thank you for your support. 
Tracy Downs

Dear ___________:


On June 25, 2012, the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention (the Center) was notified by the U.S. Department of Education that it would not exercise the next option year of its four-year contract due to reduced funding availability for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. For two decades, the Center has helped campuses across the nation address the harmful effects that alcohol, drug abuse, and violence have on students and communities.


The Center’s abrupt end comes at a critical time. Consider the following:


·        Studies find that 20 - 25 percent of young women are victims of attempted or completed sexual assault while they are at college, as are about 6 percent of undergraduate men. Victims of sexual assault are more likely to suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, to abuse alcohol and other drugs, and to contemplate suicide. These problems all detract from academic success.

·        Heavy drinking is a serious public health and safety concern on college campuses. It is related to academic problems; alcohol dependence; drunk driving; sexual violence; legal troubles; health-related problems; blackouts and emergency room visits; and injuries and death.

·        There are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses per year, with serious repercussions for students, families, and communities.

·        Marijuana remains the most commonly used illicit drug among college students. The combined use of marijuana and alcohol is a high-risk factor for multiple acute and chronic problems, from drugged driving to academic failure, mental health problems, and substance abuse disorders.

·        Prescription drug abuse—misuse of stimulants, sedatives, and pain relievers—is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem. By the time students are sophomores, it is estimated that about half of today’s college population have been offered an opportunity to misuse a prescription drug.


The elimination of the Higher Education Center, together with budget cuts that many campuses have been forced to make in their prevention and treatment activities, will set back prevention efforts. High staff turnover among college prevention professionals, fiscal retrenchment in higher education, increasing federal requirements, and the dynamic nature of college populations, coupled with a robust alcohol industry and inconsistent alcohol and other drug control laws at the state level, create a situation in which alcohol and other drug abuse and violence (AODV) problems are particularly difficult to manage. Despite the severity of these college AODV problems, the Center has had a major influence on college safety, affecting hundreds of thousands of students over the past two decades. When the Center was established, virtually nothing was known about what “worked” to prevent AODV problems. Similarly, few campuses had any infrastructure to address these problems. The Center led the way in promoting effective campus prevention systems, translating science-based findings to user-friendly applied programs, and training thousands of campus prevention professionals.


These are tough but preventable problems that can be addressed through evidence-based campus and community policies, programs, and practices—strategies that have been supported by the Center. In the past year alone, the Center’s trainings and technical assistance services were delivered to more than 7,000 individuals who serve on the front lines of campus prevention efforts. Its Web site, with online updates on effective strategies, tool kits, and resource materials, has had more than half a million visitors. 


Please maintain and support this important work to assist institutions of higher education in developing, implementing, and evaluating alcohol, other drug, and violence prevention policies and programs that will foster students’ academic and social development and promote campus and community safety.




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