By Sam Heller, VTDigger.org
A new federal grant will arm Vermont with $12.4 million to combat the state’s worsening drug problem, Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. Peter Shumlin announced at the Statehouse on Monday.
The money, granted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will fund the expansion of Vermont’s Regional Prevention Partnerships Program, which strives to fight drug and alcohol abuse in 12- to 25-year-olds across the state.
The $12.4 million grant will allow for six new partnerships in district offices across the state, expanding the program’s coverage to 11 counties.
The HHS awarded the grant to Vermont because the agency saw Vermont as a trailblazer in addiction prevention, Leahy said.
These partnerships operate under prevention and early intervention strategies that aim to reduce the rates at which young people enter into behaviors – such as binge drinking and abusing drugs – which are much harder to treat once they become a habit.