Mercy Health Muskegon Receives Michigan Health & Hospital Association Ludwig Community Benefit Award

Award recognizes partnership in the Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County

Muskegon, Mich. (June 24, 2021) – Mercy Health Muskegon has received the 2021 Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Ludwig Community Benefit Award for its partnership in the Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County (DFMC), an initiative of the Muskegon Community Health Project that strives to reduce substance use disorder in Muskegon County through education, prevention and treatment.

The award is named in memory of Patrick E. Ludwig, a former MHA president, who championed investing in the community’s overall health. It is presented to member organizations integrally involved in collaborative programs to improve the health and well-being of area residents. Award winners receive $5,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.

Mercy Health Muskegon is a long-time partner with the Muskegon Community Health Project who facilitates the DFMC. Established in 2006 to reduce substance abuse and related consequences, the DFMC is an organizing body for over 50 community organizations such as schools, healthcare providers, law enforcement, government organizations and civic leaders, as well as business and youth. The coalition’s mission is to reduce substance use disorders in Muskegon County through education, prevention and treatment. Working through the DFMC coalition, initiatives implemented by both the coalition and partner agencies have a larger impact than any one organization would be able to achieve independently.

“We are thrilled to be recognized by MHA for our youth prevention collaboratives,” said Mercy Health Muskegon President Gary Allore. “The Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County has dynamic action teams that identify issues at the root level and gets to work on solutions with outcomes to prove it.”

Each of the coalition’s five-year strategic plans calls for multiple initiatives to reduce the use and abuse of substances among area youth and adults. The coalition’s results measured from 2010 and 2020 include a 24% reduction in lifetime alcohol use, a 51% reduction in youth binge drinking, a 93% decline in frequent cigarette use and reductions of nearly 60% in teen misuse of prescription drugs. Additionally, recent marijuana use by youths fell by 20%. 

“I’m incredibly proud of our coalition and that we have developed initiatives and education that keep our youth safe. With over 100 members strong from education, law enforcement, public health, treatment agencies and so many health and human organizations, we are fortunate to have a good partnership with Mercy Health,” said Muskegon County Prosecutor & Coalition Chair DJ Hilson.

Mercy Health Muskegon is engaged in several of DFMC’s action teams, including the Opiate Task Force, Knowsmoke Coalition, the Alliance for Marijuana Prevention, the Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative and Ride With Pride – all of which uses a data driven action planning and implementation process that has incredible outcomes. Additionally, Mercy Health Muskegon pharmacies participate in DFMC’s Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program (MAMDP), taking back medications at all pharmacy locations and hosting two annual community drug take-back events, collecting over 44,000 pounds of medications and needles over the past 10 years.

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