By Anna Guido
Butler and Warren county youth will benefit from a $9 million federal State Incentive Grant aimed at building teen substance-abuse prevention programs.
The three-year grants - each in the amount of $127,500 a year - were awarded to 20 of 45 Ohio applicants, including the Butler County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board, and Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties.
The Butler County board will use its grant to implement a prevention program in the New Miami Local School District.
"I think the problems are widespread, but New Miami is a smaller school district and we thought we could have more of an impact there," said John Bohley, director of the Butler County board.
The State Incentive Grant program encourages model programs that research has shown to be effective nationwide.
This week, a two-day workshop is being held in Columbus to help grant recipients decide which program to implement.
"The workshop will help us refine our ideas," Bohley said. "We want to make sure we're selecting the most appropriate model program for the needs that we have identified."
Mental Health Recovery Services of Warren and Clinton Counties will use its grant to implement prevention programs in Warren County school districts, including Wayne Local, spokesman John Cummings said.
Other districts are still being considered.
The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services is administering the federal funds.
"Young people are at the core of the drug issue," Director Luceille Fleming said.
"If we can help youth resist alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, they're likely never to use these substances as adults."
Gary Tester, a prevention services chief with the state department, said Ohio has excelled at developing evidence-based programming that encourages youth to reject drugs.
This additional federal money "will go a long way" toward continuing those efforts, Tester said.
For more information about Ohio's alcohol and other drug addiction prevention programming, visit the Web site at www.odadas.state.oh.us.
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