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Schools

CASA Receives $125K To Prevent Substance Abuse

The Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse, Inc. (CASA), is one of the new grant recipients from the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, according to Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Manhasset CASA will receive DFC grant funds to involve and engage our local community in an effort to prevent substance use among our youth.

In total, $19.8 million in grants are being given to 147 communities, and 19 new DFC Mentoring grants are being distributed across the country. These awards are in addition to the $59.4 million in continuation grants simultaneously released to 473 currently funded DFC coalitions and four DFC Mentoring continuation coalitions.

The grant will provide Manhasset CASA with $125,000 per year in funding over the next five years. “We are not powerless against the challenge of drug use among young people here in Manhasset,” said Lisa Belinsky, incoming executive director of Manhasset CASA. “Research shows that prevention is the most effective tool we have to reduce the terrible consequences associated with drug use among young people. This new funding will continue Manhasset CASA’s mission to help young people live healthier and safer lives.”

Leg. Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck), who presented Manhasset CASA with a citation to commemorate the award commented, “Manhasset CASA serves such a vital role in our community. As a member of the community partnership myself, I know firsthand the strides CASA has made and will continue to make to combat substance abuse. This effort must continue and this Federal grant will facilitate that.”

Coalitions are composed of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, the media and others working together at the local level. Since 2001, CASA has existed in the Manhasset community as a resource to reduce the illegal, underage use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs among its youth.

CASA strives to reach youth before they are in trouble, by connecting parents, schools and the community as partners in this common goal. Since 2008, under the auspices of the DFC Grant Support Program, Manhasset student-survey results have documented a steady decrease in 30-day alcohol use, indicating that sixth- and eighth-grade use continues to be significantly lower than county, state and national youth norms.

“The key to preventing substance abuse is harnessing the talents, resources and interests of all segments of our local communities,” said Pamela S. Hyde, administrator at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “America’s families, schools, places of worship, health care providers, community centers and other civic organizations all play an essential role in helping our youth avoid illicit substance use. SAMHSA’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.”

The DFC Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997 and was reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded nearly 2,000 DFC grants to local communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Palau, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia. For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy or the Drug Free Communities Support Program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp.

For more information about Manhasset CASA or the student-survey results, you can Like them on Facebook or go to their website at www.manhassetcasa.org .