Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sallisaw Awarded $125,000 Grant to Fight Substance Abuse

For the third year Sallisaw has received a $125,000 Drug Free Community (DFC) grant to help educate youngsters and prevent youth substance abuse.

Sharon Day, project director, explained the grant helps educate youth, ages 12 through 18, about the dangers of the misuse of alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. 

"We want to accomplish two things," Day said. "We want to educate and strengthen all groups in the community about substance abuse among the youth. We want to change the way people think about drug abuse. And we want to reduce substance abuse by youth."

Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, announced the grant awards Tuesday. He said the Sallisaw NOW Coalition from Sallisaw is one of the grant recipients which helps involve and engage the local community to prevent substance use among youth.

Botticelli said, "We know that evidence-based prevention efforts are the most effective way to reduce youth substance use and to support the roughly 90 percent of American youth who do not use drugs. By bringing together schools, businesses, law enforcement, parent groups, and other members of the community, DFC-funded community coalitions are helping to protect youth from the devastating consequences of non-medical prescription drug use, heroin and other substance use."

Sallisaw City Manager Clayton E. Lucas said, "Our goal is to make Sallisaw a safe and healthy environment for our youth. Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract drug use in our community and we will use this funding to help youth in Sallisaw make healthy choices about substance use."

The DFC's 2014 National Evaluation Report showed a significant decrease in the use of prescription drugs among youth in DFC communities. The report also noted increases in the perception of risk, perception of peer disapproval, and perception of parent disapproval in relation to non-medical prescription drug use. The report also found a significant decrease in use between the first and most recent data reports for alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use among middle school and high school youth in DFC communities.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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