Jackson County organization awarded grant money to prevent youth substance abuse

The fight to combat drug abuse continued today with four organizations in Michigan awarded $500,000 in grant money to help educate the community about the dangers of addiction.

SRSLY Chelsea, SRSLY Dexter, the Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition, and the Jackson County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition each received grants of $125,000.

The grants will provide funding to involve and engage the community to prevent substance abuse among youth, including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol.

6-News spoke with the Jackson County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition to find out how they plan to use the money to help save lives.

Officials from the coalition say research shows, 1 out of every 4 kids in middle school reported being in the car with someone who’s been drinking.

And that’s why it’s so important they use this grant money to help prevent similar things from happening.

“Almost everybody I know has somebody who’s been touched by a heroin or opioid problem,” says Coordinator of the Jackson county Substance Abuse Prevention, Sarah Allison.

Sarah Allison says the organization educates others about addiction and treatment options for substance abuse and it’s one of four in the state to receive Federal grant money that Allison says, will help fund about half of all of it’s activities.

“It’s kind of nice to know all these communities are doing something about it,” says Allison.

Allison says, the grant will provide the coalition with $125,000 a year for up to 5-years.

And a big chunk of that money will be dedicated to what’s called the “Most Teen’s Don’t” campaign.

“What we try to do and what the students try to do is prove to their peers ya know, not everyone is doing this and we have the data to show you that,” says Coordinator of the campaign, Emma Sigman.

Sigman says one of the biggest risk factors for drugs in teens is peer pressure.

And as part of the coalition’s prevention efforts, she works with schools to help kids realize majority of their classmates are not using.

“The whole point is to for the students to talk to their peers students are more likely to listen to their peers rather than constantly having an adult tell them well you shouldn’t do this and you shouldn’t do that,” says Sigman.

Sigman says, the campaign involves 7 public school districts in Jackson County.

Kids participate in awareness activities and even put together PSA’s that focus on alcohol, tabacco, and prescription drug prevention, something that Sigman says couldn’t be done without the extra cash.

“Our hope is that by having these preventative practices in the community it cuts down on substance use and abuse in the future,” says Sigman.

For tips for talking with children about substance abuse and the power of addiction, head over to the Seen On Six section of wlns.com.

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