Office of Drug Control Policy

Press Release Date:  Thursday, August 23, 2007  
Contact Information:  Contact Stacy Floden
(502) 564-8220

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The 34th Annual Kentucky School of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies held its annual awards banquet last month at the Radisson Riverfront in Covington.  Each year, outstanding leaders in the field of substance abuse are recognized for their contribution to the citizens of the Commonwealth.  The Straus Award is named in honor of Dr. Robert Straus, a preeminent researcher and leader in the field of substance abuse.  Dr. Straus was on hand to help recognize this year’s recipients.  The Straus Awards are given in four categories:  prevention, treatment, advocacy and community organization.  

The recipients this year included:

Prevention – Dianne McFarling of the River Valley Behavioral Health Regional Prevention Center was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the field of substance abuse prevention in her community.  It is through her guidance and commitment that prevention has taken center stage in the River Valley region of the state.

Treatment – The Straus Award for Treatment was given to Bill Stewart of Pathways, Inc. in recognition of his years of service to the citizens of the Pathways region and to the state.  It was through Bill’s early commitment and work on the certification of alcohol and drug counselors that raised the bar of professionalism for substance abuse counselors.

Community Organization – This year the Hancock County Champions Coalition – Hancock County Partners for a Healthy Community – Health Youth received the Straus Award for their work with youth in their community. 

Advocacy – The Straus Award for Advocacy recipient at the Kentucky School was given to Don Ball of the Kentucky Housing Corporation.  It is through his creativity and leadership that 10 new Recovery Kentucky centers are under construction across the state. He is truly an advocate for those who suffer or are touched by addiction in Kentucky.

At this year’s banquet, an additional Straus Award for Advocacy was given to Karyn Hascal, Deputy Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy for her work in the field.

Also recognized this year was Mac Bell of the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.   He was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the field of substance abuse over his long career in state government.   Mac is planning his retirement in the coming months.  This year, the Michael E. Townsend Award for Leadership was presented to John Rees, Commissioner of the Department of Corrections for his creativity and commitment to expanding and enhancing substance abuse treatment opportunities for those incarcerated in Kentucky’s jails and prisons.