Janesville38.3°

Grant to target youth alcohol, drug abuse

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staff, Gazette
August 30, 2012

— A local group has been awarded a $625,000 grant to aid its efforts in fighting underage drinking and drug abuse in Evansville.

The money, which comes from the federal Drug Free Communities Support Program, will be awarded across five years to BASE, also known as Building A Safer Evansville. According to its website, the coalition's mission is "to raise awareness about the impact that high risk behaviors have on our community, provide education and engage all stakeholders to reduce youth substance abuse."

The single biggest outlay of the grant will be for the cost of a full-time staffer who will serve as executive director of the coalition, said Jennifer Braun, BASE project coordinator.

The coalition plans to use the money to offer training and mentoring programs at the Evansville Youth Center and at area schools. BASE also will organize campaigns to discourage drug abuse and drinking at high-risk during high-risk youth events such as Prom and Homecoming.

Since 2010, Evansville has seen 47 arrests for underage drinking, 11 juvenile arrests for possession of marijuana, 21 arrests for youth possession of drug paraphernalia and 14 arrests for providing alcohol to minors, Braun said in an email.

The ultimate goal of the local program is to promote a significant decrease in underage drinking and prescription drug abuse, Braun said.

"It's a great thing for Evansville," she said. "It's going to help us change the culture of the community."

DRINKING, DRUG ABUSE NUMBERS

This data is from the 2012 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which is administered once every two years to sophomores and seniors in Wisconsin public high schools.

Had at least 1 drink in the past 30 days:

Evansville: 47.7 percent

Rock County: 38 percent

Had five or more drinks in a row, in the past 30 days:

Evansville: 27.7 percent

Rock County: 22.5 percent

Used marijuana in the past 30 days:

Evansville: 22.6 percent

Rock County: 17.6 percent

Used prescription drugs without a prescription:

Evansville: 8.2 percent

Rock County: 10.7 percent

Source: Building a Safer Evansville



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