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Orting School District awarded state grant to support local youth in making healthy choices

Orting School District (OSD) was awarded a two-year state grant by the Washington Health Care Authority’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR), supporting local youth in reducing alcohol, opioids, marijuana, and other drug use.

The grant includes funding for training, technical assistance, and community and school-based prevention services. Also, OSD plans to work with local community resources, including the Recovery Café Orting Valley and Puget Sound Education Service District to support youth in making healthy choices.

Orting is one of 100 communities statewide participating in DBHR’s Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI). The Initiative supports new or existing coalitions in partnering with parents, youth, educators, health professionals, law enforcement, faith leaders, and local government. The program’s primary goals are to reduce underage use of alcohol, opioids, and marijuana; improve academic performance; and reduce juvenile crime. An evaluation by Washington State University shows 95 percent of CPWI programs implemented between July 2015 and June 2016 resulted in delaying the first use of alcohol or other drugs, reducing use, and reducing risk factors.

Coalitions identify their highest prevention needs, plan and implement evidence-based strategies, leverage local resources, and evaluate the impact of selected programs.

“Extending these resources to local communities means greater reductions in risky behavior, including substance abuse and the harm it causes to people and their families,” said Michael Langer, acting assistant director of the Washington State Health Care Authority’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery. “Community leaders can use this grant to help young people make healthy choices and succeed.”

Several factors were considered in selecting Orting for services. These include, but were not limited to, favorable attitudes toward substance use, availability and access to substances, academic performance, and youth disengagement.

Additional information about CPWI can be found at TheAthenaForum.org. State and county Healthy Youth Survey data is available at www.AskHYS.net. Prevention tips for parents can be found at www.StartTalkingNow.org.

For information about joining the Orting Standing Together on Prevention (OSTOP) coalition, contact Rena Thompson at rena@recoverycafeorting.org