Mercer drug prevention agency getting $100,000 grant

October 10, 2004|BOBBIE CURD

HARRODSBURG - A local drug prevention coalition will receive an additional $100,000 to be used help make kids more aware of the dangers of drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

Dr. Earl Motzer, chairman of Mercer County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, said the agency is ready to go to work with the new federal money.

"We are excited about the opportunity to continue the programs we have in place and expand into new areas, Motzer said. "Our programs have reached every student currently in grades 7-12 in the three public schools in Mercer County."

The representatives of the coalition also give parent and community-focused presentations to churches, civic, business and school groups.

"Even though we educate students at school about the harmful effects of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, this message must be reinforced at home," Motzer said. "To do that we must make parents more aware of substances and how to prevent their kids from using them. Parents don't always realize how big an effect they can have on their children's decisions."


To help with parental awareness, the group has produced "A Parent's Guide to Parties" and distributed them to the parents of all high school students at Mercer, Burgin and Harrodsburg schools. Educating parents on the responsibility of hosting teen parties has been a key initiative of the Coalition.

The federal Drug-Free Communities grant is designed to help communities organize effective coalitions and have the ability to implement programs. There are 233 grants from this program given out nationally. The $100,000 is renewable for an additional four years, which brings the potential funds to $500,000 for the coalition.

Middle and high school students targeted

The programs that will be funded through this grant will target middle and high school students and will teach them about the dangers and effects of using drugs. The program will also teach students how to refuse offers of drugs and coping mechanisms.

The program has reportedly already reached over 1,700 Mercer County youth.

Aside from their focus on schools and parents, the Coalition will also aim for the education and awareness of the community as a whole. Distributing direct mail pieces, using billboards to get their message out and community presentations are some of the ways the Coalition will use to boost its presence.

Davette Baker Carpenter, the coalition's project director, could not be reached for comment, but Motzer and others give her a lot of credit for obtaining the grant.

Judge John Trisler is an executive committee member and has been since he was appointed in Mercer County as Judge Executive a year ago.

"Davette really deserves all of the credit for pursuing the grant with all of the energy she's given it," said Mercer County Judge Executive John Trisler. "Of course she did so with the support of the board behind her, and with Dr. Motzer, as well."

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