(Meriden, CT) -- A five-year federal grant totaling $625,000 has been awarded to Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare partner, and the Meriden Healthy Youth Coalition for the purpose of preventing youth substance abuse in the City of Meriden.
The grant comes from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in cooperation with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a division of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“This Drug-Free Communities Grant is an important investment in our young people. Rushford and the Meriden Healthy Youth Coalition have set forth a well-thought out, comprehensive plan to involve folks across the community in educating parents and students about the risks of substance abuse, to make sure our young people have the information they need to stay healthy and safe, and to prevent youth substance abuse before it starts,” said Fifth District Connecticut Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty. “I thank the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of Health and Human Services for investing in this plan, and congratulate Rushford and the Meriden Healthy Youth Coalition on earning this well-deserved grant, building on the success of their existing local efforts.”
The Meriden Healthy Youth Coalition serves Meriden, a community of 60,700. The goals of the coalition under this grant are to establish and strengthen community collaboration in support of already established local efforts to prevent underage youth from using alcohol, and all youth from using illegal substances, such as marijuana.
“This grant provides an opportunity to build on the important substance abuse prevention work that the Meriden Healthy Youth Coalition has accomplished over the past several years,” said Rushford President & CEO Jeff Walter. “It is an exciting opportunity to bring Rushford’s prevention services to a new and innovative level, bringing tremendous benefit to the youth of this city.”
Among the strategies to be implemented under the grant are to train alcohol retailers on the detection of falsified identifications and provide information and tools to aid retailers in ensuring that the sale of alcohol is limited to those of legal purchase age; local police will enforce underage drinking laws by conducting enforcement patrols at times considered to be high risk for underage drinking, including prom and graduation time; and a campaign to educate parents and youth of the legal and health consequences of underage drinking and marijuana use.
Rushford, a Hartford HealthCare partner, provides inpatient and outpatient substance abuse and mental health services to thousands of children, adolescents, adults and families each year. For more than 35 years, Rushford has been offering proven, individualized and compassionate care to its clients throughout Connecticut and beyond.
Carol A. Vassar, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
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