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Rep. Pascrell Announces $1.25 Million in Federal Drug Prevention Grants

Federal grants will fund community initiatives in Rutherford, Secaucus to reduce youth substance abuse

RUTHERFORD, NJ – Today, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) was joined by community leaders and school officials at Rutherford High School to announce that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $1.25 million in federal Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grants to the Rutherford Community Prevention Coalition (RCPC) and the Secaucus Municipal Alliance to fund community drug prevention initiatives in Rutherford and Secaucus. RCPC and the Secaucus Municipal Alliance will each receive $125,000 annually for five years through the DFC program.

“As a former mayor I understand that local problems require local solutions, which is exactly what federal Drug Free Communities grants support,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Despite alarming levels of drug usage, our commitment to preventing drug use in the first place has never been stronger. Rutherford and Secaucus are excellent examples of that, and these federal funds will ensure they stay at the forefront of this important cause. I am committed to ensuring that New Jersey has the federal resources it needs to tackle this problem head-on.”

Launched earlier this year, RCPC is dedicated to reducing youth substance abuse in Rutherford and is comprised of partners including the Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute, Rutherford Municipal Alliance, Rutherford Public Schools System, Rutherford Police Department and the Rutherford Public Library.  In Fiscal Year 2013, RCPC and the Hudson County Coalition were jointly awarded a $75,000 federal grant which helped the organization get off the ground. RCPC was mentored by the Hudson County Coalition through their application process, which has spent years assessing youth substance abuse in communities like Secaucus.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Rutherford community to reduce youth drug and alcohol use in town,” said Jamie Sierfeld, Director of the Lindsey Meyer Teen Institute. “The fact that Rutherford has received a federal grant of this magnitude shows that our citizens are committed community members who are dedicated to addressing challenges that do exist with proactive and proven prevention practices.  We are excited to continue this process with Rutherford and are looking forward to making some real, measurable progress as it relates to youth drug and alcohol use.”

The DFC grant announced today will allow Rutherford High School, in cooperation with RCPC, to conduct an alcohol and drug survey of sophomore and senior students and district eighth graders. The survey will serve as a needs assessment in order to tailor programs to curb youth alcohol and drug specially to Rutherford. Once the community’s needs are determined, future actions could include parental workshops, permanent drop boxes for prescription medications, and ensuring liquor stores are checking for proper identification.

“This federal grant will strengthen the already strong programs for the youth of Rutherford,” said Rutherford Superintendent of Schools John Hurley. “I am grateful for the work of Congressman Pascrell, our mayor and council, the Lindsay Meyer Foundation, and the Rutherford Municipal Alliance and look forward to partnering with them in the future.”

Secaucus Municipal Alliance will use the federal funds to engage in similar substance abuse prevention initiatives.  Partners in Prevention, a Secaucus-based non-profit that works to reduce the impact of substance abuse throughout Hudson County, has worked collaboratively with Secaucus to create and sustain community prevention efforts through the development and support of local community coalitions.

“This investment demonstrates that we know how to engage our community in actions that will have a positive outcome,” said Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli. “I thank Congressman Pascrell for fighting to bring these federal dollars to Secaucus and for prioritizing the health of our youth.”

DFC is a federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use. The philosophy behind the DFC Program is that local drug problems require local solutions.  With a small federal investment, the DFC Program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC Program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use.  Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower.

This grant program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, which became law with your support. In Fiscal Year 2014, $84 million will fund 197 new DFC grants, 463 continuation grants for coalitions already in a five-year cycle, 3 new DFC Mentoring grants, and 17 continuation DFC Mentoring grants.


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