OSWEGO, NY – A new organization has begun meeting in new office space to fight an old enemy – the scourge of drug and alcohol abuse.
The Coalition to Combat Adolescent Substance Abuse is holding its meetings at Farnham Family Services, 283 W. Second St.
“Oswego County is facing a large youth substance abuse problem. We are currently looking for individuals who will participate in an Oswego County steering committee,” said Penny Morley (Farnham Prevention director), co-chair of the coalition. “This committee will work on instituting strategies and policy changes to rectify the current situation.”
They have begun to develop and will implement strategies and policy changes that are focused on reducing identified risk factors and increasing identified protective factors.
The fledgling coalition is preparing to work on obtaining Drug Free Communities Grant funding.
At Thursday’s meeting was a cross-section of agencies representing Farnham, Oswego City-County Youth Bureau, COCCA (Council on Alcohol), DSS, STOP-DWI and other concerned citizens.
The DFCG is a collaborative initiative sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Its mission is to establish and strengthen coalitions among communities and to reduce substance abuse among youth and adults.
“Part of the purpose of today’s meeting is we want to get more detailed and specific information for the grant proposal in the strategies that we are thinking of doing as a coalition,” Morley said.
The five-year federal grant would mean $125,000 per year for the coalition.
Once they have some strategies in mind, they then want to come up with “what is the next step” to be able to successfully implement the strategies.
The coalition will continue to move forward whether its gets the grant funding or not.
Coalition member Teresa Woolson, president of the VOW Foundation (a group working to raise awareness about synthetic marijuana and other designer drugs) and Morley will be attending the Community Anti Drugs Coalitions of America’s national leadership conference in Washington DC from February 1-6 as part of the coalition. There will be about 2,500 people in attendance.
“We will not only learn about coalition work, but also meet with our federal representatives on Capitol Hill on Feb. 4 regarding substance abuse and federal legislation,” she said. “It’s an incredible training opportunity.
Woolson was named chair of the Opiate/Heroin/Rx committee of the coalition.
“Our group is moving ahead with great action steps to bring a Permanent Prescription Drug Drop Box to the area,” she said. “Part of the ‘action’ of the coalition will be capacity building – working to bring more people into the coalition, starting with at least two members from each sector. More membership is needed and desired. More members means more action can be completed!”
For more information, contact Morley at [email protected]