Grant Efforts Designed to Prevent Underage Drinking in County
Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks.
The consequences of underage drinking can affect everyone— regardless of age or drinking status. We all feel the effects of the aggressive behavior, property damage, injuries, violence, and deaths that can result from underage drinking. This is not simply a problem for some families—it is a nationwide concern.
In response, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the award and funding of new grants designed to prevent underage drinking through the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act (STOP ACT) grant program.
Wellspring Center for Prevention was notified of the award for the STOP ACT grant program which provides funding for community-based coalitions throughout the country to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth ages 12-20.
The STOP program strengthens collaboration among communities, as well as federal, state, local and tribal governments in efforts to instill an active commitment to prevent underage drinking.
"Underage drinking is a major public health problem which endangers the health and lives of our nation's young people and others," said Wellspring Executive Director/CEO Ezra Helfand. "The STOP program is based on the simple truth that to effectively address this problem we need to educate and persuade kids not to risk their health and futures through underage drinking."
Components of the program proposed by Wellspring include a media campaign highlighting the consequences for youth and alcohol servers, and publicizing existing laws against underage drinking. Additionally, the agency will work to ensure all existing laws against underage alcohol use are enforced consistently and uniformly and that ordinances are implemented in non-compliance towns.
Grant efforts will focus on Dunellen, South River, and Carteret.
“Underage drinking poses grave risks to young adults in Middlesex County,” said Helfand. “One death from underage drinking is too many, yet as many as 5,000 young people die each year as a result of alcohol consumption.”
Each grantee receives up to $50,000 annually over four years. The actual amounts may vary, depending on availability of funds and progress achieved by the awardees.