The Pickaway Addiction Action Coalition (PAAC) has been awarded the Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant, a five-year federal grant totaling $625,000 to mobilize community leaders to identify and respond to the drug problems within Pickaway County, and change local environmental conditions tied to substance use.
“Receiving the DFC grant is a reflection of our community’s leadership and commitment to uplifting our youth and preventing life-altering addictions,” PAAC Board Chair Dan Litzinger said. “This is evident by the diverse background of our membership with representatives from our schools, faith, business and health communities. Obtaining this grant is a vital first step in a long road that will need the continued support of our local leaders, community members, volunteers, parents, and most importantly, our kids.”
The Drug Free Communities Support Program, created in 1997, is administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and managed through a partnership between ONDCP and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The program funds community-based coalitions that engage multiple sectors of the community to prevent youth substance use. The sectors include youth, parents, businesses, media, school, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, religious/fraternal organizations, civic and volunteer organizations, healthcare professionals, State, Local, and Tribal governments, and organizations involved in reducing illicit substance use.
To be in compliance with the federal DFC grant, PAAC needed to seek community matching dollars. Community partners assisting with the match thus far include Adena Health System, Pickaway County Commissioners, OhioHealth and the Well Being Fund. PAAC is actively seeking additional community partners to help with the cause.
Pickaway County has a profound need for substance use prevention and this grant will focus on the reduction of youth’s access to tobacco products which includes vaping, alcohol, and marijuana.
Pickaway County has witnessed a surge in accidental overdoses. In 2014, Pickaway reported a 260increase in accidental drug overdose deaths. From 2015 and 2018, the county’s unintentional drug overdose deaths doubled from 17.6 per 100,000 people to 35.4 per 100,000, which is now higher than the State of Ohio’s rate of 34.4 per 100,000. These numbers have a large impact on children as 67 percent of children who were removed from their homes in Pickaway County had experienced parental drug abuse. This rate is 17 percent higher than the State of Ohio’s average.
“Pickaway County has been negatively impacted by drug misuse,” Litzinger said. “By reducing the substance use in our youth population, we can also reduce adverse childhood experiences and impact our adult population. PAAC wants to ensure that our community is a safe place to call home, grow up, and raise a family.”
Individuals, businesses, or community partners that have an interest in promoting the DFC cause or are willing to contribute to the matching fund program, please contact email@example.com.