August 31, 2011

Manchin, Rockefeller, Rahall Announce $1 Million to Fight Drug Abuse in West Virginia

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller and Representative Nick Rahall (all D-W.Va.) today announced that eight community coalitions in West Virginia have been awarded $1 million through the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program. The program is designed to support communities as they work to reduce youth substance abuse. 

“On my recent ‘Rebuilding America’ tour of West Virginia, I traveled to 20 counties throughout our state and heard the same thing time and again – drug abuse is tearing our communities apart, hurting our schools, destroying our families, and even damaging our workforce. This is more than a problem, it’s an epidemic we need to eliminate right away,” Senator Manchin said. “If we want to improve our economy and keep West Virginia competitive by attracting residents and businesses, the scourge of drug abuse in our communities is something we must confront with the full force of our efforts. I am committed to doing all I can do see this problem eliminated.”   

In April, Senator Manchin announced a three-point plan to combat drug abuse in West Virginia and the nation, which includes critical measures that would ban bath salts and synthetic marijuana and increase penalties for running “pill mills.” 

“I convened a roundtable discussion on prescription drug abuse earlier this year because this epidemic has ripped through communities across the state,” said Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care.  “We need to do more to increase awareness and stop this trend. Prescription drug abuse derails lives, ruins careers, puts enormous strain on families, and dims the promise and potential of our children and young people. I will always fight to make sure that we continue to support funding for substance abuse prevention programs.  We cannot successfully help our children until we tackle and defeat the abuse that is at the very root of the problem.”

In March, Rockefeller introduced the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2011.  The bill aims to prevent the unsafe use of prescription drugs and reduce the number of deaths from prescription drugs by promoting both physician and patient education and creating a uniform reporting system for painkiller-related deaths.  It would also provide federal funding to help states create and maintain prescription drug monitoring programs that all states can access.  

“Drug abuse has one all too common denominator, our youth.  These federal dollars invest in local, community coalitions with successful track records in reducing youth substance abuse, like the United Way, Community Connections, and the S.T.O.P. Coalition.  Drug abuse is a national scourge requiring federal resources, but the essential helping hands in this important partnership are our local community programs that promote a healthier and more civically involved  youth,” said Rahall.

The grants will be awarded to the following: 

Berkeley Springs: Morgan County Partnership, Inc., $125,000

Bluefield, Community Connections, Inc. of the Creating Opportunities for Youth Coalition, $125,000

Gilbert, Strong Through Our Plan of the Strong Through Our Plan (S.T.O.P.) Coalition, $125,000

Huntington: United Way of the River Cities, Inc. of the Cabell County Substance Abuse Prevention Partnership, $125,000 

Moundsville: Marshall County Family Resource Network of the Marshall County Anti-Drug Coalition, $125,000

Ripley: Jackson County Health Department of the Jackson County Anti-Drug Coalition, $125,000

Weirton: Brooke Hancock Family Resource Network of the Brooke Hancock Drug Prevention Coalition, $125,000

Wheeling: Youth Services System, Inc. as part of Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention, $125,000