Roanoke Prevention Alliance announces $625,000 grant to reduce youth substance abuse

By Brie Jackson - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The Roanoke Prevention Alliance announced Monday, it is receiving $625,000 over the next five years from the Drug Free Communities program, which is directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. The grant money will be used to help combat the issue of substance abuse.

Organizers said the grant money is needed to prevent underage marijuana use among youth in Roanoke. Officials said the city's average is higher than the national average and alcohol use is also a problem.

"Underage alcohol use is about par with the national averages," said Ray Bemis, Prevention and Wellness Specialist for Roanoke Prevention Alliance. "But we don't aspire to be at national averages, we want to have those numbers as low as possible. One of the advantages of the Drug Free Communities support grant is that over time we can see those numbers go down."

Organizers said they plan to implement programs targeting young people and educating them about issues like marijuana, alcohol, prescription medication and other dangers.

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