The Scituate anti-drug organization FACTS has been given one of 147 national grants to prevent substance abuse, becoming one of only nine Massachusetts groups to receive funding.
In total, $19.8 million will be given out through the program, administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The specific funding amount for the FACTS (Families, Adolescents, and Communities Together against Substances) coalition will be announced on Sept. 30. However in a release, organizers said grantees are typically given up to $625,000 over the course of five years.
“The Scituate community demonstrated that they are organized and poised to deliver on our mission,” said Greg Ranieri, Director of Health and Wellness for Scituate Public Schools and FACTS Coalition Co-Chair, in a release. “Through education and leadership, the Coalition will support a cultural shift within the community regarding attitudes, behaviors and norms relating to substance use and abuse.”
The grants are given to groups that help organize community participation in local drug prevention efforts, and Scituate’s organization already has ideas on how to use the funding well.
According to local parent and coalition co-chair Annemarie Galvin, FACTS will begin a multi-prong approach to addressing youth substance abuse, including strategies in education, more communication and information sharing with interest groups, and enhanced access to treatment.
“Collectively, the new efforts afforded by the federal grant will reduce risk factors for substance misuse and enhance those factors that protect our kids, all while strengthening our community. This is a win, win, win,” Galvin said.
FACTS has been focused on preventing alcohol, marijuana, and prescription drug abuse for some time, developing events for teens after several home sports games, and hosting community meetings about drug issues.
That mantra and mission fit the bill for the Drug-Free Communities Support Program grants.
“For too many young people, [their] future is clouded by drug use, which inhibits their ability to remain healthy and safe and to achieve their full potential,” said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in a release. “We congratulate this coalition on its work to raise a generation of young people equipped to remain drug free and ready to meet the challenges and successfully compete in the 21st century.”
According to Pamela Hyde, with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, community groups such as FACTS are the key to preventing substance abuse on a local level.
“[The Administration’s] partnership with the Office of National Drug Control Policy in supporting community coalitions has proven effective in uniting communities to develop effective approaches for fostering drug-free environments for young people across our Nation,” Hyde said in a release.
To find out more about FACTS, visit their website.
Members of the community are invited to the next open Coalition meeting on Monday, Oct. 21 at Scituate Town Library from 6:30 p.m. till 8 p.m.