Federal funding has been awarded to the STOP (Strong Through Our Plan) Coalition in Gilbert and two other community coalitions working to reduce youth substance abuse in southern West Virginia.
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, along with U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin (all D-W.Va.), announced the funding Thursday.
“Every penny we put into drug abuse prevention pays us back by the pound. These federal funds will allow our proven local leaders, especially those working with our youth, to carry on their effective work,” Rahall, a senior member of the Congressional Caucus on Prescription Drug Abuse, said.
STOP, along with Community Connections, Inc., in Bluefield, and The United Way of River Cities, Inc., in Huntington, was awarded $125,000. The continuation funding grants were awarded through the FY 2012 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
“They not only know the street corners to watch, they know the leaders of our schools, churches, community centers and even playgrounds who can help encourage our kids,” Rahall said. “We are fighting drug abuse on many fronts these days, and every young person we can spare from the devastating costs of drug abuse, is a victory for families and the entire community.”
The DFC program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate citizen participation in local drug prevention efforts. Coalitions are composed of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, the media, and others working together at the local level.
“Helping our children grow up drug free should be a goal for all of us,” Rockefeller said. “This funding will help leaders in our towns work to stem the tide of drug abuse. The impacts of addiction are so widespread – touching families, friends, and neighbors. But by working together, as these coalitions are doing, we can fight back against this epidemic.”
“In communities all over our state, I have visited with so many young people whose friends, families and neighborhoods have been just devastated by drug abuse, and there is nothing more heartbreaking than a young child asking for help to get their older brother or sister off the stuff,” Manchin said. “I am so appreciative of the many different individuals and groups that are working to end the drug epidemic that we face, and this funding will help in the cause. As your Senator, I am determined to do everything I can to help those young children grow up drug-free, with opportunities for a bright future in their own communities.”
“America’s success in the 21st century depends in part on our ability to help young people make decisions that will keep them healthy and safe,” Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, said. “We congratulate the coalitions on their work to raise a generation of young people equipped to remain drug free and ready to prosper in school, in their communities, and in the workplace.
“While law enforcement efforts will always serve a vital role in keeping our communities safe, we know that stopping drug use before it ever begins is always the smartest and most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences.”