May 14, 2024

JSU’s Alcohol and Drug Studies Center lands national Public Service Award for prevention efforts

Special to Darkhorse Press

The Interdisciplinary Alcohol and Drug Studies Center team accepts the Public Service Award for Alcohol Prevention and Safe Driving at the 2024 Lifesavers Conference.
Jackson State University’s Interdisciplinary Alcohol and Drug Studies Center received the Public Service Award for Alcohol Prevention and Safe Driving at the 2024 Lifesavers Conference on Roadway Safety, presented by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in Denver, Colorado.
“Receiving this prestigious award has been an incredibly humbling and gratifying experience for all of us at the IADSC. The acknowledgment of our tireless dedication and unwavering efforts in promoting safe driving habits among the youth is truly rewarding. It reinforces the significance of our mission to educate and empower young drivers to make responsible choices behind the wheel,” said Keith McMillian, IADSC occupant safety coordinator.
The award was presented by NHTSA Deputy Administrator Sophie Shulman, who acknowledged the outstanding contributions of six individuals and five organizations.
This was the department’s first debut at the Lifesavers Conference. The event is held annually and, according to McMillian, is recognized as the largest gathering of traffic safety professionals in the United States.
“Our dedication to serving our community aligns closely with the parameters set forth by Jackson State University and the Mississippi Office of Highway Safety. Through proactive networking and the establishment of strong relationships with community partners and vendors, we are enthusiastic about our ability to disseminate knowledge that not only enhances the daily lives of individuals but also serves as a proactive measure against potential harm,” said Nita Hilton, director of the IADSC. “Our commitment remains steadfast in empowering our community and uplifting those who may have faltered along the way.”
NHTSA plays a pivotal role in the National Roadway Safety Strategy, a comprehensive initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) in early 2022 to significantly reduce severe injuries and fatalities on American roads.
According to NHTSA’s website, 42,514 lives were lost on U.S. roads in 2022, with 13,524 drunk driving fatalities and 12,151 speed-related traffic deaths.
With an extensive catalog of prevention efforts, the department humbly boasts that it has reached 10,000 young people across the Magnolia state. Efforts include hosting Occupant Protection and Impaired Driving presentations, partnering with Mississippi School Districts, churches, and apartment complexes, participating in health and wellness fairs, and more to share vital safe driving information.
“I envision our department expanding in various directions, all with the overarching goal of supporting and safeguarding our youth and young adults,” Hilton said.
She says the ongoing efforts of the IADSC will address pressing real-world issues affecting today’s youth and young adults, including programs to assist with mental health challenges, prevent HIV/STD transmission, substance abuse, domestic violence, and more.

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