October 29, 2015 (Jackson, Miss.) – The Mississippi Department of Mental Health’s (DMH) Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Services has received a five-year discretionary grant that aims to transform Mississippi’s prevention system and prevent underage drinking and prescription drug use.
The Mississippi Prevention Alliance for Communities and Colleges (mPACC) aims to increase awareness of the consequences of substance use, its risk factors and protective factors, and to alter alcohol and prescription drug consumption patterns by funding up to 11 Community Prevention Coalitions (CPCs) to serve an estimated 394,165 adolescents and 344,900 young adults from diverse social and cultural backgrounds per grant year. The grant is awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
“Mississippi has made great strides in decreasing the prevalence of licit and illicit substance use among youth and young adults,” said DMH employee Thia Walker, Director of the Statewide Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup. “Past discretionary prevention grants, similar to the current mPACC grant, have been extremely beneficial to the state in preventing the use of substances and delaying the age of initiation for substance use.”
The goals of this grant include not just reducing alcohol use and binge drinking, but also increasing the communication between families and individuals regarding the dangers of alcohol and substance use. The project will increase the number of evidence-based prevention education strategies while also expanding statewide training and technical assistance opportunities over the life of the grant.
In addition, it will institute an organizational mentoring system through the CPCs to improve the entire prevention workforce, and best practices will be disseminated throughout the state. The effective implementation of these programs will leave the state even better poised to enhance its prevention services, workforce, and infrastructure.
“The implementation of the initiatives set forth from this grant will continue to decrease the prevalence of youth and young adult’s substance use behaviors and their associated consequences,” Walker said.
DMH is supporting a better tomorrow by making a difference in the lives of Mississippians with mental illness, substance use problems and intellectual or developmental disabilities one person at a time.