October 3, 2007 Edition

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ATOD Coalition awarded grant

The Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Drugs Coalition of Lawrence County has recently been awarded a $50,000 Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant. This award from the Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention (ADAP) of the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health Services is to assist the county coalition in addressing the issues of underage drinking and binge drinking among the youth in the county. The award was one of only fifteen awarded in the state.

Application for the grant was made with the cooperation of the Lawrence County Health Coalition, Mid-South Health Systems, and the Northeast Arkansas Educational Cooperative. The award is for the months of October through June. The coalition has just hired a project director to administer the grant under the supervision and with the cooperation of the ATOD Coalition, the Health Care Coalition and the Cooperative. The director will be housed at the coop and will work with all schools and involved entities throughout the county to address the issues involving alcohol use among county youth.

State Epidemiological Profile Indicators and the Arkansas County Mapping Data indicated that 22.3 percent of sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grade students in Lawrence County have used alcohol in the past 30 days with 17 percent having engaged in binge drinking during the two weeks prior to the data collection. This was well above the state average of 14.9 percent and places Lawrence County among the highest in the state for binge drinking and was the impetus for the grant application.

Joyce Rose, Junior Briner and Sheriff Dan Ellison represented the coalition at a July meeting of the ADAP Coordinating Council to discuss and defend the grant. After the grant was tentatively awarded, the council worked with local coalition members to make some adjustments to the grant proposal. The grant then went before a legislative review committee, which gave final approval to the ATOD application on Sept. 5.

The SPF grant will be used to implement and ensure a data-driven, evidence-based approach to preventing underage alcohol use in Lawrence County as well as providing for specified training in efforts to strengthen the ATOD Coalition and to create a strategic prevention plan for the county. Successful completion of the incentive grant will ensure coalition eligibility for future grant applications.

The ATOD Coalition of Lawrence County meets monthly at the NEA Educational Coop on the first Wednesday of the month at 12:30 p.m. Those interested in the work of the coalition are invited to attend today's meeting.

For more information, contact Joyce Rose, coalition co-chair, at 886-5627, Rita Prestidge at Black Rock Schools or Ashley Burris at the Lawrence County Library.

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