Officials in Centre County hope a grant will create new services to help families whose loved ones may be fighting addiction.
It’s the latest step in their ongoing effort to fight heroin and opioid addiction in the area. The grant would create services that target a new age group of susceptible users — kids.
“Over half, 68 percent, of high school seniors in Centre County have tried alcohol and 34 percent have tried marijuana,” Denise McCann, Division Director at the Centre County Youth Service Bureau, said.
Those numbers, from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey, are concerning to McCann.
“Eleven percent of high school seniors have tried narcotic prescriptions that weren’t prescribed to them,” she said. “That’s concerning, too. That’s a high number.”
McCann said since September of this year, the county has seen the same number of overdose deaths as 2014 and 2015.
The Centre County Youth Service Bureau is applying for a $100,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The goal is to reduce substance use and eliminate or reduce overdoses and overdose deaths.
“One of the programs we would like to do is “Strengthening the Families” program. That program is designed to work with parents and youth, aged 10-14,” McCann said. “That’s a prevention effort that we think would be very important to work with kids and families at that stage before they start using at all and hopefully prevent them from doing that.”
They’re also looking to create a program called “CRAFT.”
“CRAFT works with the family to teach positive reinforcement,” McCann said. “If a person who has support of family and who has positive reinforcement happening, they’re much m ore likely to engage in treatment.”
The grant would cover a one year term. McCann expects to hear back about whether or not they receive funding in March, with an April implementation date.