Casco Bay CAN receives federal grant for youth substance abuse prevention

NEW GLOUCESTER — The Casco Bay Create Awareness Now Coalition will receive $125,000 from the federal government to help support programs and outreach aimed at preventing youth substance abuse and fostering drug-free communities, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King recently announced in a joint press release.

The Casco Bay CAN Program Director, Beth Blakeman-Pohl of New Gloucester, said that funding would be used to prevent and reduce youth substance use in New Gloucester and the seven other communities served by Casco Bay CAN. Trainings, resources, and materials will be provided to local schools, businesses, faith organizations, parents, youth, and others who influence youth.  Additionally, youth substance use prevention messaging will be promoted.  Youth volunteers will help promote the messaging and implement activities to educate peers and empower them to make healthy and safe choices.

In their joint statement announcing the grant to Casco Bay CAN, Senators Collins and King said, “Last year, drug overdoses claimed the life of 354 Mainers, nearly one person each day. We must take an all-hands-on-deck approach to stop this epidemic and support those who are struggling with substance use disorders.”

Casco Bay CAN serves the towns of Falmouth, Cumberland, Freeport, Gray, New Gloucester, North Yarmouth, Pownal, and Yarmouth.  In all, Collins and King said the Office of National Drug Control Policy has awarded more than $2.1 million to 17 Maine-based health coalitions and municipal governments.

Local parents, grandparents, and others who influence youth should contact Ms. Blakeman-Pohl if they are interested in a free Table Talks discussion to learn more about local youth substance use and how to start the conversation. FMI 688-8816 or visit cascobaycan.org

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