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NVRH Receives $125,000 Drug-Free Communities Grant

by | Apr 16, 2021 | In the News

ST. JOHNSBURY, VT (April 15, 2021) – On behalf of The Northeast Prevention Coalition (NPC), Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) has been awarded a Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant in the amount of $125,000 per year for a five year period to support healthy choices and substance misuse prevention in Caledonia and southern Essex Counties.

One of the goals of the grant, which was awarded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is to reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance misuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance misuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance misuse.

“It’s important to me to have youth representation on this coalition because we see firsthand what our fellow friends, colleagues, and community members are going through and struggling with,” Coalition Member Ava Marshia said. “I feel like giving the youth a voice in this coalition gives the adults a different perspective.”

Another goal is to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies, as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.

“Collaboration is key for coalitions to get traction and to really inspire change,” NVRH Chaplain Abby Pollender said. “Community-level change doesn’t happen in isolated pockets, it takes a variety of skillsets and perspectives.”

NPC will continue to address substance use among youth by implementing evidenced based strategies. The coalition will use the Strategic Prevention Framework, developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which will guide the coalition in developing the infrastructure needed for community-based public health approaches leading to effective and sustainable reductions in substance use.

To effectively manage the Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant, NVRH Substance Misuse Prevention Services hired Tina Plazek as the Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator. Plazek has over 27 years of experience working in human services and providing connections to community resources, as well as counseling to those struggling with mental health and substance dependence.

“After years of working on the treatment side of addiction, I have seen the devastating effects on families and the community,” Plazek said. “It has always been my passion to help others and to serve the community with respect, openness, and most importantly, compassion. I am very much looking forward to focusing on the prevention of substance misuse in this new role.” 

If you would like more information on the Northeast Prevention Coalition, or wish to join the coalition’s efforts, please email Plazek at npc@nvrh.org.

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