Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced $16.1 million in federal funding over three years to help prevent and reduce illicit and prescription drug abuse among youth ages 10 to 24 across Canada.
MacKay made the announcement on behalf of the Minister of Health Rona Ambrose,
In Pictou County, $272,170 has been earmarked for Sober Passages: Addressing Illicit Drug Use During Life Transition of Rural Nova scotia Middle/Junior High Youth.
“It’s no secret that there are serious problems and risks associated with illicit drug abuse,” said MacKay. “Even right here in Pictou County it’s happening.”
The announcement took place at the Pictou County Health Authority Community Health Centre yesterday morning to a room filled with community members, health officials, school board staff and students from New Glasgow Junior High.
“Our Government is very proud of the innovative work done with our partners under the National Anti-Drug Strategy to help prevent illicit drug use and provide access to treatment to those with substance abuse issues,” said MacKay. “Right here in Nova Scotia, this will mean local organizations will continue to reach even more youth and ensure they are given the tools and an opportunity to grow and heal.”
The funding will support 34 projects across the country, including 4 in Nova Scotia, to address a wide range of illicit and prescription drug abuse issues, especially among vulnerable youth, who have a higher risk of developing substance abuse and dependency.
“With the funding announced today, we will have the ability to enhance the services offered to young people in those critical years between grades 6 and 9 when many of them begin to experiment with drugs and alcohol,” said Greg Purvis, director Addiction and Mental Health Services at PCHA. “The Sober Passages program will take a health promotion/prevention approach that will provide the opportunity to work closely with our partner agencies as we make information, skills and supports available to young people and their parents.”
While the schools have yet to be identified in Pictou County, Lynn MacLean, Celtic family of schools supervisor indicated the decision would be made in the next month.
“We’ll be looking for the schools with students transitioning from middle to high schools,” MacLean said. “Those details are still being worked out.”
Many of the projects will equip young people with the knowledge and skills to recognize and avoid situations where there may be peer pressure to use drugs. Others are designed to provide parents and those who work with youth, with drug education and prevention strategies that will help families and communities deal with the growing problem of substance abuse.
Other projects being funded in Nova Scotia are: Youth Adventure Program (South Shore District Health Authority); Strengthening Youth and Families (Colchester East Hants Health Authority); and Youth Truth Matters – A Youth Led Approach to Illicit Drugs in Rural Communities (Tri-County Women’s Centre
The projects are being funded under the Drug Strategy Community Initiatives Fund (DSCIF), which is part of the Government’s National Anti-Drug Strategy, which receives $9.6 million annually for a wide range of national, provincial, territorial or local community-based initiatives that contribute to reducing drug use among youth through health promotion and prevention projects.
Since the announcement of the National Anti-Drug Strategy in 2007, the Government has invested approximately $72.4 million in multi-year community-based projects through the DSCIF.
On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn