GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Substance abuse is lower than it has ever been in Franklin County.
For the past 11 years, the Communities that Care Coalition has been working to help combat substance abuse among teens, and Tuesday it paid off.
The Franklin Regional Council of Governments was awarded a Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking grant from the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The grant awarded, which is over $47,000 for four years, will allow the Communities that Care Coalition to continue their programs to reduce youth substance abuse in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region.
Congressman Jim McGovern told 22News, "It's really amazing because of the 250 applicants nationwide. This group here received one of 17 grants that were awarded and the only one here in Massachusetts."
The youth programs produced results promoting healthy choices to youth, advocating healthy family relationships, and running polls and research. When the community programs started 11 years ago binge drinking was far higher than the national average.
Kat Allen, the Co-Chair of Communities that Care, said, "Today the data that we have that we're just releasing today shows that for the first time our binge drinking rate is actually lower than the national average its been cut by fifty percent its been cut in half."
Teens agree with the numbers. Kaitlin Rice of Greenfield said, "I don't think it's surprising at all actually I think this is a good community that we live in."
Congressman McGovern said that this program is a national model, and those that run the programs say its largely due to the community acting together.