Local Coalition Receives $ 587,000 Grant to Support Community Substance Use Prevention

ST. PETER, Minnesota (KEYC) – A local coalition receives a grant of $ 587,000 over five years to support the prevention of substance use in the community.

It comes as concerns about drug addiction rise in the region, including the four overdose deaths of young people in recent weeks due to opioids in Mankato and north of Mankato.

The Nicollet County Adolescent Chemical Welfare Advocates Coalition will receive approximately $ 117,000 per year over the next five years from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to be used to reduce and prevent drug addiction among local youth through various strategies.

“ACWA was created in 2019 to bring together different community organizations to work together to intervene on substance use among minors,” said Nicollet County lawyer Michelle Zehnder Fischer.

“So by using this funding we will be able to hire a program coordinator to help promote and support the mission of the coalition,” added Bree Allen, Nicollet County Public Health Supervisor.

The AWCA has active participants in St. Peter and Mankato Public Schools, local police, health and social services and several other organizations in the region.

Officials at St. Peter’s Public School say the funding will help preventive resources for students and families.

“So really, flooding families with information about teen drug and alcohol use,” said Kelly Jensen, social worker at St. Peter’s High School. “We saw a slight increase in our first three weeks of school, especially with vaping, as well as drug and alcohol use, so it’s over there.”

“We were particularly concerned this fall, not only because the kids had been learning mostly distance for the past year and a quarter when we didn’t really know what the kids were doing, but also because of all the social needs and emotional issues. pandemic with the children, ”said St. Peter High School Principal Annette Engeldinger.

To find out more, ACWA is hosting two upcoming events provided by Tall Cop, an organization that educates young people about substance abuse prevention. The first is a professional seminar for healthcare professionals, educators, law enforcement and others at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on October 7. Followed by a community discussion for parents and guardians. that evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the same location.

“It’s really hard to find staff these days, so I think the extra support from all these other community organizations is really going to help us put these preventative measures in place,” Engeldinger added.

For more information and to register for the Tall Cop event, visit:

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