LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane and Stephens Inc. Chief Operating Officer Curt Bradbury will be honored as joint recipients of the 2012 Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award on Monday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center Great Hall.
"The Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award recognizes leaders who mobilize people of different faiths and different segments of the community to address important issues and challenges facing Arkansas," said the Rev. Stephen Copley, Chair of the Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award Steering Committee.
This year's issue is "Killer in the Medicine Cabinet: the Crisis of Prescription Drug Abuse by Teens." According to a February 2007 report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Arkansas is number one in the nation in teen pain medication abuse. One in five teens in the nation abuse prescription drugs, and 70% of the prescription drugs abused by teens come from their own home.
In addition to the award presentation, there will be a panel discussion with Chief Lane, Bradbury and Central High Junior Ryann Mitchell regarding teen prescription drug abuse. There is no charge to attend the reception, award ceremony and panel discussion. Those wishing to attend should make reservations at www.themarie.com.
Chief Lane's efforts in Benton, called "Operation: Medicine Cabinet," began in 2009 and utilized the messages of youths in Saline County abusing prescription drugs - mostly out of their own home medicine cabinets.
The program increased awareness of teen prescription drug abuse through brochures that helped parents identify commonly abused medications, by publishing pictures and street names for them.
"Operation: Medicine Cabinet" also urged participation in drug take-back programs that allowed all citizens to drop off unused prescriptions at protected locations. The first Benton take-back program took back 142 pounds of pills, and during the fall of 2011 537 pounds were collected.
In Little Rock, Bradbury encouraged Mayor Mark Stodola, Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley, and Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas to focus on the crisis of teens and prescription drugs as Chief Lane had done in Benton. He worked with Chief Lane and others to pass legislation for monitoring controlled substances at the 2011 session of the Arkansas General Assembly, and talked with Chief of Staff Morril Harriman and Governor Mike Beebe in support of it.
Today Bradbury counsels parents who have problems with their children and has helped the Little Rock Police Department change its policies regarding sensitivity to parents at a crime scene.
In 2004, Paul and Irving Spitzberg initiated the Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award an award to honor their mother, the late Marie Spitzberg. Growing up, they saw a positive role model in her values and civic activities in partnership with their father, Dr. Irving Spitzberg. Marie Spitzberg lived interfaith leadership in her service to all regardless of religion or economic circumstance.
"I taught my sons to respect people as individuals, with a right to their beliefs, but also I taught them to right wrongs." said the late Marie Spitzberg. "In order to do so, we must tackle issues with complete information and civil action."
Past recipients of the Marie Interfaith Civic Leadership Award include Mimi Dortch, 2005; Jim Davis, 2006; Grainger Williams, 2007; the congregations of Bethel AME Church and Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 2008; former U.S. Senator David Pryor, 2009; Arkansas Sen. Joyce Elliott, 2010, and Dr. Fitz Hill, 2011.
(Source: Marie Interfaith)