published: Sunday, October 07, 2012
HRHN receives grant to support coalition efforts to reduce underage drinking
Special to the News-Sun
SEBRING - The Heartland Rural Health Network Inc., in collaboration with Drug Free Highlands and the Hardee Alliance for Substance Abuse & Teen Pregnancy Prevention, received a federal Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration. This is a four-year grant totaling $193,032.
The STOP ACT grant program provides funding for community-based coalitions throughout the country to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth ages 12-20. The program strengthens collaboration among communities, as well as federal, state, local and tribal governments in efforts to instill an active commitment to prevent underage drinking.
Locally, these two coalitions are teaming up to reduce underage drinking by using four environmental strategies. Youth in Highlands and Hardee counties will have an opportunity to participate in an exciting social media campaign that uses texts to deliver educational messages on underage drinking and alcohol.
Project Success, an evidence-based program for youth, will be available in cooperation with several community agencies. The grant will also help support quarterly compliance checks of alcohol in collaboration with local law enforcement. The Primary Retail Education Program (PREP) will also be made available to local merchants that sell and/or serve alcohol to educate them on methods to reduce underage alcohol sales.
The Highlands and Hardee Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and the media who work together to address substance use within their respective counties. The coalitions also work together on a variety of projects to maximize resources.
"We are truly excited about the opportunity to partner with Drug Free Highlands and Hardee ASAPP to reduce alcohol use among youth in these two counties," said Kelly J. Johnson, Heartland Rural Health Network's executive director. Jacqueline Rawlings, Drug Free Highlands Coalition chair, stated, "We are thrilled with the news of this grant award. We now have an opportunity to expand the two coalitions' efforts to reduce substance use among youth in our rural communities by having additional resources that are designed to specifically address on underage drinking."
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