A total of $375,000 is coming to the Northern Panhandle to assist programs seeking to prevent drug abuse.
U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., announced Thursday three local agencies were awarded Drug-Free Communities Support Program grants for $125,000 each. Those slated to receive the funds are the Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Program, the Brooke-Hancock Drug Prevention Coalition and the Marshall County Anti-Drug Coalition.
The DFC Program provides grants to communities that promote the participation of citizens in local drug prevention efforts. Coalitions are composed of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, the media and others working together at a local level.
Brooke Ash, public relations director for the Marshall County Anti-Drug Coalition, said it is the fourth year the program has received the federal grant. Much of the money is put toward anti-drug messages targeting area youths, she noted.
"There is also a parent campaign that encourages parents to talk to their children about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse," Ash said. "Also, we have given funds to local police departments for extra patrol and drugs interdiction and have provided drug interdiction training to local police."
The training teaches officers how to best search out drugs, and how to intervene in drug trafficking, she said.
Calls to programs in Ohio and Brooke counties were not immediately returned Thursday.
"Substance abuse is a growing epidemic, not only across the United States but here in the Northern Panhandle as well," said McKinley. "Drug abuse is a scourge on our communities. America's future depends on keeping young people healthy and safe by stopping this trend dead in its tracks. ...
"The best way to prevent substance abuse is by educating people about the extent of the problem and by supporting professionals on the front lines," he added. "This funding will help our communities accomplish this."