$99K Grant Received for Tobacco Prevention
St. Louis County Health Department awarded a $99,962 grant to Rockwood School District to create and train student advocacy teams at the district's four high schools. Drug Take-Back tallies now available.
Eureka and Lafayette High School students will deliver tobacco prevention lessons to health and physical education classes, develop strategies to fight tobacco marketing aimed at youth and work to promote local tobacco-free policies and ordinances, due to a new grant just secured.
The Rockwood School District received funding for nearly $100,000 from the St. Louis County Department of Health for tobacco prevention efforts. The grant will be used to create and train student advocacy teams at the district's four high schools.
“Advocacy efforts are powerful when they are student-led,” said Ken McManus, Rockwood’s prevention services coordinator. “Through the development of student advocacy teams, this grant will aid us in our goal to guide students to make good choices while engaging student capacities for change.”
Renee Heney, project coordinator for Rockwood's Drug-Free Coalition, said the group collaborates with many community partners to educate the public about substance abuse issues and to offer prevention resources.
"In addition to our Medication Take-Back events, we provide a student intervention program for qualifying high school and middle school students, and a five-session family management program that focuses on building skills of parents with children ages 9 through 14," said Heney.
She said they also collaborate with police partners to conduct alcohol compliance checks to monitor sales to minors at area grocers, gas stations and restaurants, being sure to acknowledge those merchants who follow the law.
"We work with municipal leaders to pass social hosting ordinance laws, with school sponsors to provide youth with leadership opportunities, and with school administrators to encourage safe celebrations during high risk homecoming and prom seasons," she said.
Heney said during the past year, they also introduced a community leaders' pledge program and a neighborhood of excellence campaign to engage more Eureka and Wildwood residents to combat youth substance abuse.
"It's very exciting and gratifying to see our programs begin to produce results. We have many committed volunteers who devote a great deal of time to this cause," she said.
A total of 199 participants this fall completed a survey at drop-off locations. For the first time since coalition members started collecting unwanted and extra medications, residents cited "protecting teens and children" as a primary reason they were participating, instead of, or in addition to, "protecting the environment."
The full tally of local collection results accompanies this article on Eureka-Wildwood Patch. Citizens indicated several reasons for having the extra medications: excess needs, recovery from illnesses, more medication than needed and medications not being helpful for their uses.
Eureka police officer Dan Armbruster said another national Drug Take-Back event is planned for April 30.
At the local area's most recent Take-Back event hosted this November, Armbruster said authorities collected at total of 13,800 pounds of drugs in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and southern Illinois.
"Nationally, 242,000 pounds of drugs were collected at 4,000 locations," he said. "And we are very pleased to be part of this overall effort."