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Jeff Skaggs, coordinator of the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, makes remarks last Wednesday morning after accepting the 2013 William J. Bailey Prevention Leadership Award from the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. click for larger version)

Skaggs honored for prevention work


October 30, 2013 | 10:26 AM

Jeff Skaggs, coordinator of the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition for more than a decade, was humbled by a state award he received.

The 2013 William J. Bailey Prevention Leadership Award given by the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction at the INARMS conference in Indianapolis on Sept. 26 at the Indiana Government Center was awarded to Skaggs. However, Skaggs was unable to attend the conference, so the award was given to him by Denise Griffiths, president of the HCSAPC board, at last Wednesday morning's board meeting.

"First, I want to thank the Indiana Prevention Resource Center and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction for the 2013 William J. Bailey Prevention Leadership Award," Skaggs said. "After reading several articles on Mr. Bailey, I am so humbled to be considered for an award named after someone who was so passionate and innovative about substance abuse prevention."

The William J. Bailey Prevention Leadership award was established by the Indiana Prevention Resource Center and the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to honor Bailey's contribution to the prevention field.

"The late Bill Bailey was the director of the Indiana Prevention Resource Center in Bloomington," Julia Olsen, prevention bureau chief with the Bureau of Mental Health Promotion & Addiction Prevention, Division of Mental Health & Addiction and Family & Social Services Administration, said. "Bill was well known for establishing a foundation of prevention in the state and pioneering Afternoons ROCK in Indiana, an afterschool drug prevention program. Bill is regarded as a visionary in the prevention field and his former colleagues refer to him as a selfless, hardworking and passionate leader."

Skaggs has been described as an enthusiastic, passionate leader whose energy is contagious. He has been credited with growing the coalition and engaging key leaders in the community to bring about positive change, and he has worked to engage leaders in local government to make the selling of synthetic drugs illegal in local convenience stores, in schools to provide consistent prevention messages and coordinating efforts with the Harrison County Sheriff's Dept. to install a 24-hour drug drop box in the county to decrease access and misuse of prescription drugs. Those who know Skaggs said he hasn't received many public accolades or recognition for his work but goes quietly and humbly about his work and is constantly thinking strategically about innovative ways to make positive changes in the community to improve the health and well-being of the next generation of youth.

"I want to thank everyone who I have been so blessed to work with in the Harrison County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, specifically Denise Griffiths, Janna Hocker, Leslie Robertson, Debbie Longoria, Maegan Devore, Kerri Cokeley and Katherine Sadler," Skaggs said. "Without their support, knowledge, hard work and professionalism, the coalition would not be what it is today.

"Having worked as an adult probation officer for 19 years, I see regularly how substance abuse destroys families and our community," he said. "Prevention is the key to raising healthy adults."

Skaggs dedicated the award to the coalition, Harrison Superior Judge Roger D. Davis and the treatment providers who dedicate their lives to help people suffering from addiction.

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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email