Hillsborough County Anti Drug Alliance, Inc. (HCADA) was first formed in 1989 as an Advisory Council to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. In 2003, HCADA adopted by-laws and became a 501c3 non-profit organization in order to apply for and bring more funding opportunities to the Hillsborough County community. HCADA currently serves as Hillsborough County’s community based coalition with over 150 volunteer members. HCADA uses a public health approach for reducing substance abuse and related problems, recognizing that no institution or organization alone can address these issues.It is through strong community support and partnerships that we can create sustainable community-wide change.HCADA envisions a community where youth and families are safe, healthy, and free of substance abuse and addiction and related consequences. HCADA’s mission is to plan and implement strategies to prevent and reduce youth and adult substance use/misuse by promoting healthy communities in through education, collaboration, and advocacy.The mission and vision guide the work of HCADA, which is accomplished via volunteer community collaboration through the various task forces. Currently, based on the results of our needs assessment, HCADA has five major task forces:
Tampa Alcohol Coalition, Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, Tobacco Free Partnership, Marijuana Task Force, and our General Membership Meetings. Through each of these task forces, members assess, plan, and implement environmental strategies that will prevent and/or reduce substance abuse and related consequences. For example, our Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force organized Take Back initiatives to provide Hillsborough County residences with a safe and environmentally friendly way to dispose of over-the-counter or prescription drugs. By safely removing these unused or unwanted drugs from the medicine cabinet, we can reduce youth and young adult access to those addicting and life threatening drugs. We also provide home disposal pouches and lock boxes to community members for safe storage at home. Our alcohol task force, Tampa Alcohol Coalition, works with law enforcement agencies and other community partners, such as MADD, to prevent underage drinking and reduce DUI’s in our community.
In addition to our task forces, we have a major youth initiative where we provide our youth with information, skills, and opportunities for action.
Youth Making a Difference in Hillsborough County, YMAD! uses the Youth to Youth International empowerment model and curriculum, which is designed to assist youth advocates through a three step training process.1. Training on consequences and risk of substance use, industry practices, influences of the media, advertising, and pop culture. 2. Skills training in public speaking, communication, media development, legislative skills, problem assessment and analysis, community organization and collaboration. 3. Youth then initiate community awareness activities and events, legislative action or policy change, educational activities, and create media to influence their peers.