WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The West Springfield CARE Coalition was awarded a five year grant from the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The CARE Coalition aims to provide prevention, education and intervention to address underage alcohol and substance abuse within the community. West Springfield was one of the nine communities in the Commonwealth to receive a drug free community continuation award of $625,000 to support their efforts in schools.

The CARE Coalition uses evidence-based prevention practices that include alcohol compliance checks, family and student substance use information and education, peer-led prevention education, and the collection of substance use trend data for youth.

CARE Coalition’s Coordinator Ananda Lennox told 22News what services this funding will go directly towards, “We spend a lot of time doing messaging and campaigns, run vaping and the harms it can cause. Trying to push education out to the parents, some of the funding will go to that. The other will go towards providing education about fentanyl, counterfeit pills and Narcan and stuff like that. And the regular targets, like alcohol, marijuana and traditional cigarette use.”

CARE Coalition members work together to support positive youth development and reduce risky behaviors. Through the efforts of CARE, the town has seen a decrease in overdose emergency calls from 78 calls in 2019 to 48 calls in 2022.

Through this funding they hope to continue to reach out to youth and their families throughout West Springfield.

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