Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition Awarded Federal Grant    

September 5, 2018

The Milton Public Health Department was notified this week, by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that the Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (MSAPC) will be awarded $125,000 per year for the next five years to focus on youth substance abuse prevention in the town.  The Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant application was submitted by the coalition in March, and the funding will officially begin on September 30th. 

The focus of the application will be to strengthen community partnerships so that town leaders, youth and residents can work effectively together on decreasing the high rates of youth underage drinking and marijuana use (including vaping) in Milton.  Early regular use of drugs and alcohol can lead to changes in the adolescent brain, leading to addiction over time.  The prevention-oriented grant also allows the coalition to focus on addressing teen depression and the lack of prosocial out of school opportunities in town, two key contributors articulated by to the high consumption rates, according to students.   These goals are consistent with MSAPC’s community-led strategic plan.

Attorney Laura Richards, Chair of the Milton Board of Health said, “Our board has mostly had to focus its resources on our regulatory responsibilities.  It is such a pleasure that we are getting funding to focus on community prevention, especially on such an important national public health problem as substance abuse.”  Caroline Kinsella said, “One of my most gratifying responsibilities as the Director of the Milton Health Department has been to serve as Chair of the MSAPC.  It is quite something that we were able to secure long-term federal funding.  I look forward to accomplishing great things in the years to come.”

“This is outstanding news. Congratulations to Caroline Kinsella, Laurie Stillman and the entire Milton Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition for securing this grant in a very competitive process”, said Richard Fernandez, president/CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton. “The Coalition’s list of accomplishments over the last three years is impressive as it has laid a solid foundation for the town’s fight against substance misuse. This grant will enable the Coalition and town to maintain the progress, and BID-Milton looks forward to continuing our partnership.”

“On behalf of the Milton Public Schools, I want to recognize Laurie Stillman for writing this highly competitive DFC grant.  This grant will positively impact and improve the social-emotional well being of thousands of students from pre-kindergarten to grade twelve and will positively benefit the entire Milton community,” said School Superintendent Mary C. Gormley.  She added that she looks forward to the long-term benefits this will have for both Milton’s children and adults.

Chief John King has been actively and directly involved with the coalition since he assumed the position.  “I am very excited for the DFC Grant. We have always had a very strong partnership here in Town, but we lacked sufficient financial resources. This will allow us to continue working together implementing long-term strategies to address local substance use problems.” 

Ms. Stillman explained that the ninety-page federal grant application required documentation of an in kind or cash grant match of $125,000/year from the community. The match was raised by the Coalition from garnering in kind personnel commitments from the Milton Health Department, the Public Schools and Police Department to work on substance abuse prevention.  In addition, the Publisher of the Milton Times has donated free advertising space to promote educational messaging to reduce substance abuse and professional photographer Steve Nelson continued to donate his talents to maintaining our online presence in the community.  Grant commitments were also secured from the Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, the Blue Hills Community Health Alliance, and from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health through a state budget earmark made possible by Senator Walter Timilty. Finally, a substantial donation from Mike’s 5K to Crush Substance Abuse helped to reach the matching goal.

“This grant award would never have been possible if we hadn’t had so many generous and committed partners in town, and such talented personnel as Caroline Kinsella and Deborah Milbauer”, said Laurie Stillman who serves as the coalition’s Director.  “Other communities marvel at how much we have accomplished with comparatively fewer resources, and by the level of commitment the coalition has received from its town leaders and residents.  I feel confident that we will make big strides in the coming years on this very pressing issue.  I welcome the community to join us as we move forward together.”

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.