Since 2008, Kye Nordfelt has been working to reduce drug and alcohol abuse in Utah County, getting grants to fund programs and motivating community members to get involved in the cause.
Nordfelt, who serves as the Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team coordinator for the Utah County Department of Drug and Alcohol Treatment and Prevention, was recently honored with the Advocate of the Year award from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.
The organization represents more than 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions across the country.
"When it comes to policy matters, Kye is one of CADCA's most active and strongest allies and is always willing to go the extra mile to help advocate for the coalition field," CADCA chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur Dean said in a press release. "He has helped to secure funding for critically important prevention programs, specifically the Drug Free Communities Program, by mobilizing people within his community and communicating with his members of Congress and senators in a timely manner."
Nordfelt summarized how the local coalition, the Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team, works.
"We are a drug prevention coalition," he said. "Our mission is to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. We organize community members from a variety of walks of life -- doctors, dentists, police officers, mental health experts, youth, parents who have lost children to substance abuse. They don't want to see that heartache happen to other people.
"We get together at least monthly and have a strategic plan. We mainly try to focus on prevention of prescription drug and alcohol abuse. We try to use laws, which govern the way people use drugs. We work with local legislators. We also try to improve the prescription habits for pain pills.
"We also are big proponents of the alcohol policies that exist in Utah. Research shows that helps prevent underage drinking and DUIs.
"We do a media campaign -- 'Use only as directed,' " he said. "Our advocacy is focused on changing the environment, trying to make alcohol less easy to get."
Pat Bird, the Utah County Department of Drug Alcohol and Alcohol Treatment and Prevention manager, said Nordfelt is a great at his job.
"Kye is exceptional at motivating a vast group toward a specific goal," Bird stated in a press release. "He can collect numerous resources and distill them down for the group to use. He helps prioritize competing objectives and helps direct the coalition with accepted best practices to achieve our desired outcomes."
Nordfelt was quick to commend the group of volunteers with which he works.
"There is one paid staff member and 45 community volunteers," he said. "It really shows what a group of committed volunteers can do."
Jo Ann Petrie, the Utah County Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team chairwoman, praised Nordfelt.
"We are very excited for Kye to earn this national recognition," she stated in a press release. "He is the one that keeps our diverse group together and focused on a specific target -- the prevention and reduction of substance misuse in Utah County. We are very appreciative of his efforts and feel he is extremely deserving of this award."
Members of the coalition have attended sessions of the state Legislature to present their message.
"The volunteers provided testimony and got involved in the political process," Nordfelt said. "It is inspiring to me. It kept me going."
2012 report on the Utah County Substance Misuse and Abuse Reduction Team:
• Number of providers trained on pain pill prescribing best practices: 117
• Number of abuseable pills collected at Rx take back events: 305,550 (Since 2010 -- 802,440)
Changes in the last two years, since 2010:
• Fewer homes have leftover pain pills
• Fewer teens abuse pain pills
• Fewer people die from pain pill overdose