As part of Nassau’s early intervention drug/alcohol abuse prevention efforts, County Executive Edward Mangano will provide funding to up to 29 Nassau school districts so that they can devote a full day, during the month of October, to raising awareness about the dangers of drug/alcohol misuse and to underscore the importance of making Healthy Choices.
The County’s Mental Health and Chemical Dependency professionals, part of the Department of Human Services, will oversee the project, which offers $1,275 to each participating school district to produce an awareness event for the district that is tailored to the substance abuse prevention needs of their community.
The hope is that all 29 districts – with which the County currently has contracts for prevention services – will join in implementing a Healthy Choices substance abuse prevention and mental health promotion event. It may be a stand-alone event or the district can incorporate it within their Red Ribbon Week activities (Oct. 23-Oct. 31).
“Healthy Choices should promote social/emotional wellness and address problem behaviors that lead to alcohol and other drug abuse,” County Executive Mangano said. “Schools should develop and implement this event based upon the identified risk and protective factors prevalent within each school and community.”
In a letter inviting the County’s member school districts to participate, Dr James Dolan said: “Research has shown that the social development of our youth can be positively impacted when we reduce the risk factors and increase the protective factors that predict adolescent problem behavior. When we approach these risk and protective factors with public health promotion strategies we can seek to effect change at a larger population level.”
Mangano said he looks forward to “partnering with (district officials) in this worthwhile endeavor.”
The $37,000 in funds for the Healthy Choices project comes from $321,068 in funding the County restored to its chemical dependency provider contracts in 2013. The funding restored the currently operating programs, which received funding cuts in 2012, to their 100% funding levels.