The Collaborative for Educational Services awarded Youth Opioid Prevention Grant

Home E CES Stories E The Collaborative for Educational Services awarded Youth Opioid Prevention Grant
Article Author: Kathryn Levesque
Publication Name: Collaborative for Educational Services
Article Date: 5/9/2017
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NORTHAMPTON — Efforts to prevent drug and alcohol use among young people will expand in middle schools in Easthampton, South Hadley and Hadley as well as in Amherst–Pelham and Hampshire Regional schools next year thanks to a $20,000 grant from the state Attorney General’s office awarded to the Collaborative for Educational Services.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s Youth Opioid Prevention Grant Program aims to stop opioid misuse before it starts, by bolstering drug prevention programs directed to students at all grade levels to educate on the dangers of opioid and other substance use. The Collaborative is partnering with the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and Hampshire HOPE, the regional opioid prevention coalition.
Funding will launch the LifeSkills prevention curriculum, an evidence-based program that seeks to develop social and emotional skills in students to better prepare them to resist drug and alcohol use. Studies show that in schools teaching the LifeSkills curriculum there are lower rates of drug and alcohol abuse by young people.
“We know that the LifeSkills curriculum will have a long-lasting impact on the rates of future substance use disorders, and it is important for addressing the opioid crisis we face in our community,” said Cherry Sullivan, coordinator for Hampshire HOPE, the regional opioid prevention coalition run out of the city of Northampton’s Health Department.
“The AG grant brings needed resources to train and support school staff in the Life Skills curriculum. The funding also enables us to offer on-going support for school districts by forming a Professional Learning Community (PLC) for those involved with implementing substance abuse prevention strategies—including health and wellness teachers, nurses, and guidance counselors,” said Heather Warner, SPIFFY Coordinator at the Collaborative for Educational Services.
Warner added, “We are pleased that the Attorney General’s office is taking an upstream approach to youth substance use prevention. Giving young people the skills and information they need to make healthy choices starts early and includes a range of behaviors and substances that are misused.”
“The Attorney General’s grant is a great investment in youth development and substance abuse prevention,” said Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan.
Healey’s office is using $500,000 from a settlement with CVS and Walgreens to funnel back into communities statewide to fight the opioid epidemic through school-based prevention education initiatives to address opioid dependence and addiction.
“We will never get control of this epidemic until prevention becomes a priority,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement. “With these grants, we will partner with schools and community organizations to empower young people and protect the next generation from falling victim to this public health crisis. But, these grants are only a start, we must continue to address this unmet need.”
Young people are particularly vulnerable to the risks of substance use. Ninety percent of all adults struggling with addiction started using when they were under the age of 18, and 50 percent were under the age of 15.
“Our area school districts have been enthusiastic partners in youth substance use prevention. This opportunity gives school districts another tool that enhances what they have been doing over the past couple years, such as utilizing Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) and, in Easthampton, the Strengthening Families Program“ said Sullivan.

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