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The Southwest Coalition on Substance Abuse Issues began as an offshoot of the Mental Health Consortium in 1976. The Consortium was a group of service providers that met monthly to coordinate and support each other’s services. The original name was the Alcoholism Coalition. At the time, alcoholism and illicit drugs prevention and treatment services were organized and funded in two separate systems. The Will County Health Department, Silver Cross Hospital, and Saint Joseph Hospital were among the first organizations, together with several individual members, to form the Coalition. Shortly after formation, the Drug Coordination and Information Council joined the group. From there the organization adopted a substance abuse treatment and prevention focus.
Initially, the Coalition was concentrated in Will County, but has since grown to encompass the region southwest of Chicago. The Coalition membership was highly cooperative, collaborative, and mutually supportive. Training was provided as part of monthly meetings, and eventually, an annual conference was organized and presented. In 1986 the Coalition began a longstanding relationship with the Illinois Addiction and Drug Dependency Association (IADDA). Thus began a 25 year tradition of holding an annual Legislative Forum to educate and inform local legislators and public officials on the current trends and needs in the field of substance abuse prevention and treatment.
For over 35 years the Coalition has adapted and evolved to address the changing issues and priorities of the prevention and treatment professionals and meet substance abuse related needs of the community.