Cranston, RI – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded a five-year, $11,000,000 grant to the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH). The Rhode Island Strategic Prevention Framework Partnerships for Success (SPF-PFS) grant enables BHDDH to intensify efforts to prevent alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug abuse by the State's youth and young adults.
The purpose of the grant is to strengthen prevention efforts. Up to twelve communities, which have the greatest need for prevention support, will receive funding to implement effective strategies to achieve prevention goals. These communities represent a large percentage of the State's population, and with help from this grant it is anticipated that there will be statewide reductions in the use of these substances.
Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBS) data indicates that 11% of Rhode Island public high school students abuse prescription medications in their lifetime. The SPF-PFS grant will provide BHDDH with the opportunity to compile all available data in order to have a better understanding of the incidence and prevalence of prescription drug use and misuse in Rhode Island. This new information will facilitate the development of additional prevention strategies.
"With this five-year grant, BHDDH will be able to enhance, broaden and provide more strategic prevention efforts to our more vulnerable citizens," said Governor Lincoln D. Chafee.
"The State's efforts over the past few years have resulted in significant decreases in underage drinking and underage drinking and driving," said Craig Stenning, Director of BHDDH. "This grant provides the opportunity to continue these efforts and to apply our knowledge to reducing marijuana use and prescription medication misuse/abuse among youth and young adults. We look forward to continuing to work with our community partners on these important initiatives."
National, regional, and State data sources identify alcohol abuse and underage drinking as continuing priorities in Rhode Island. Data from the YRBS shows that rates of past month drinking by Rhode Island students, grades 9 - 12, declined from 50.3% reporting in 2001 to 30% reporting in 2011. The data also shows that past month drinking and driving by RI students, grades 9 - 12, declined from 15.5% reporting in 2001 to 6.5% reporting in 2011. Rhode Island rates exceeded national rates in 2001 and were below national rates in 2011.
About the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals: BHDDH is committed to assuring access to quality services and supports for Rhode Islanders with developmental disabilities, mental health and substance abuse issues and chronic, long-term medical and psychiatric conditions. In addition to planning for the development of new services and prevention activities, the department's mission includes addressing the stigma attached to these disabilities.