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Manchin, Capito announce funding to combat youth substance abuse in W.Va.

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program will support youth substance abuse prevention programs in Brooke, Hancock, Mingo and Morgan counties

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) today announced that three West Virginia community coalitions, Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, the Morgan County Partnership and the Strong Through Our Plan (STOP) Coalition, will each receive $125,000 annually for the next five years from the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program to reduce youth substance use.

“Every day, 2,500 young Americans abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time,” Senator Manchin said. “This is tragic and must stop. The successful Drug-Free Communities Support Program strives to help our youth grow up drug-free by bringing together members of the community to address and combat these problems. The devastating impacts of substance abuse will hinder the growth and success of our children if we do not act, and I am pleased that this program will help West Virginia’s youth in Brooke, Hancock, Mingo and Morgan counties overcome these obstacles and create for them a safe and healthy future.”

“West Virginia has the highest rate of deaths from drug overdose in the nation, and far too many of our young people contribute to this heartbreaking statistic.” said Senator Capito. “The Drug-Free Communities Support Program has a successful track record of lowering youth substance abuse rates. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, ensuring funding for this program was one of my top priorities during this year’s appropriations process. Assistance from this program will play a major role in combatting drug abuse in Brooke, Hancock, Mingo and Morgan counties, and help to curb the larger drug crisis taking place statewide. We must do everything in our power to prevent the spread of substance abuse, and this federal support is a positive step toward creating a drug-free West Virginia.”

Details on how each coalition plans to achieve its goal of reducing youth substance abuse are below:

Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition – serves 54,158 residents in Brooke and Hancock counties

· The coalition will implement the following strategies: reduce underage drinking by addressing the low perception of harm from youth and adults through education and environmental prevention strategies; increase the perception of harm in youth and adults about the dangers associated with marijuana; educate on the risks and dangers of prescription drug abuse, while promoting proper storage and disposal of unused or unwanted prescriptions.

The Morgan County Partnership – serves 17,500 residents in Morgan County

· The coalition will implement the following strategies: recruit new coalition members to expand the coalition; enhance the members’ skills by providing trainings, workshops and opportunities to participate on state and regional taskforces; provide evidence based programs; increase youth activities that reduce risk and enhance protection; increase barriers to youth access to alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana; modify local policies on underage drinking; work with other state coalitions that advocate against statewide marijuana legalization laws; enhance skills; increase access to intervention, counseling and referral services for youth; enhance the access to proper prescription drug disposal and changing the physical design by utilizing signs to promote local prescription drug disposal sites.

STOP Coalition – serves 27,000 residents in Mingo County

· The coalition will implement the following strategies: raise awareness of STOP Coalition and substance abuse issues in Mingo County; facilitate the formation of a community groups to address substance abuse issues; provide leadership training to youth and the community; increase the number of youth participating in prevention activities; increase sustainability of prevention programs in Mingo County; increase the community’s involvement in prevention; decrease youth perception of peer use of marijuana; increase the perception of risk of marijuana use; decrease youth perception of peer use of alcohol; increase the perception of risk of alcohol use; decrease youth access to alcohol; decrease youth access to prescription drugs.

Background:

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program is directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in coordination with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of strategies to address local substance use problems. The 2014 DFC National Evaluation Report concluded that among middle and high school students across America, DFC-funded community coalitions consistently have lower rates of past 30-day youth substance use.

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