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May 3, 2017

Healey announces $700K for substance abuse prevention in schools

Attorney General Maura Healey.

In an attempt to expand substance abuse prevention efforts for children across the state, Attorney General Maura Healey announced she will distribute $700,000 in funding to school districts and community organizations to fund two years of prevention programming.

The initiative, called the Youth Opioid Prevention Grant Program, is funded through settlements the AG’s office reached with CVS Pharmacy in September 2016 and with Walgreens in January of this year, the AG's office said Monday. It will provide funds to 25 school districts as well as law enforcement agencies, nonprofits, and community health organizations for two years of programming. 

Locally, the Auburn Public Schools, the Gardner Public Schools, the Narraganset Regional School District, the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts and Worcester County District Attorney’s Office will all receive funds. Attorney General Healey is scheduled to discuss the grant funding in Gardner today. 

According to the AG’s office, children are particularly vulnerable to the risks of substance abuse; 90 percent of adults started using before the age of 18, and 50 percent started before they were 15. Studies show that the right preventative programming can decrease the risk of addiction among children.

Massachusetts has lost over 5,000 people to opioid overdoses in the last three years, the AG’s office said.

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