GLOUCESTER– Public Health Director Karin Carroll and Regional Prevention Director Amy Epstein are pleased to share the Gloucester Health Department has been awarded a $125,000 grant to further efforts to prevent youth substance use.
The grant, which was awarded to the city by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, will be distributed over two years, and support the work of the Regional Youth Prevention Network.
The Regional Youth Prevention Network is a coalition between the health departments of Gloucester, Manchester, Essex, Rockport, Ipswich, Beverly, and Danvers. The network meets regularly with the mission of connecting direct service providers to close gaps and share prevention resources and best practices. The group is overseen by Director Epstein out of the Gloucester Health Department, and seeks to prevent and reduce the use of substances and first use among young people, as well as expand its partnerships and bring in additional communities.
“As a result of this funding, we’re excited to further engage young people regionally in conversations about substance use prevention and to launch a Regional Youth Coalition,” Director Epstein said. “Including the insights of young people in our planning is a tremendous asset and offers a valuable leadership opportunity for them as well.”
“Substance use prevention among our youngest residents is a crucial effort that I am proud to see being spearheaded by Amy and our team here in Gloucester, as well as our regional partners,” Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken said. “The opioid epidemic remains a harrowing threat to public health and this work is as needed as ever. I am deeply proud of their ongoing efforts and thankful the DPH has awarded this funding to support this work.”
The funds allow each community’s health department to dedicate 10 hours a month to supporting the work of a new Regional Youth Coalition composed of high school representatives from each community. The coalition is working to engage their peers in substance use prevention and will help the Regional Youth Prevention Network as it plans the next phase of its work. Funds will also support future Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.
Any high school aged students who would like to join the Regional Youth Coalition can contact Director Epstein at [email protected].