Fayette County’s Drug-Free Communities program’s first year of funding will end on Sept. 29. For the second year of funding, which will begin on Sept. 30, the program will once again receive a grant for $125,000.
The program is eligible to receive this grant for up to 10 years, after which time it will need to be self-sustaining. The grant money must be matched by in-kind community support, according to Drug Free Communities Director Kylena France.
The grant is used for “evidence-based prevention in schools and community outreach,” France said. In addition to in-school programs, the program has recently partnered with The Warehouse to reach kids outside of school. The Warehouse is located on South Elm Street in Washington C.H. and includes a skate park, pool tables, Foosball, games, and space simply to relax with friends.
On Oct. 16, Drug-Free Communities, in conjunction with Be Present Ohio and Youth to Youth International, will host an event at the Warehouse from 3 to 7 p.m. During the event, kids in grades 6 through 12 will be served dinner, and will learn skills to help them to make good choices.
According to information provided by France, the goals of the Drug-Free Communities program are to “establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies, as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth,” and to “reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.”
France said Fayette County’s “being the second-highest in the state of Ohio in overdose deaths has really hit home for everyone.” The hope is that the Drug-Free Communities program can help to prevent young people from ever abusing drugs at all while the Faith in Recovery Coalition works to help those who are already struggling with addiction.
To reduce drug overdoses and abuse in general “definitely takes a community. It’s not just one person or an office of people,” according to France.
The Prevention Coalition meets the third Wednesday of the month at the health department and all are welcome to attend the meetings, according to France, who said, there’s “lots of different opportunities to get involved.”
More information about the Drug-Free Communities program can be found at cacfayettecounty.com or on the Facebook and Instagram pages under the name FayCo Prevention Coalition.
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124 or @MeganNeary2