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Data, grant show need for program

Oxford’s Communicare, a subgrantee of the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, recently received a $7,000 grant for a substance abuse prevention initiative.

The grant targets high school and college-aged young adults in the area, which is an important demographic for a county that serves as the location for two school districts, the University of Mississippi and a Northwest Community College campus.

Data shows our need for the grant, as Lafayette County is among the top 10 counties in the state for excessive drinking and opioid-related hospital charges.

But it doesn’t take data to know young Lafayette County residents need more education on substance abuse prevention. If you are on the Square late on the weekend, like we are while printing the Sunday newspaper, you will see the number of kids hopping from one bar to another who have had more than one too many.

The grant allows for the possibility of Communicare partnering with all the schools to create a united front, something we hope to see in the near future. This would ensure all students are receiving education in the fight against underage drinking, DUIs, binge drinking, marijuana use and prescription drug abuse.

Our hope, like Communicare’s, is that our county will see a positive effect from increased substance abuse prevention over the next five years.