Pubdate: Thu, 14 Oct 1999
Source: New Haven Register (CT)
Copyright: 1999, New Haven Register
Author: Robert Storace


ANSONIA -- City and health officials believe an $80,912 federal grant will
go a long way toward highlighting the dangers associated with underage
drinking and drug use.

"Alcohol, tobacco and marijuana are the three most prevalent substances
being used by Valley youth today," said Pamela Jones, director of the
Valley Substance Abuse Action Council, who was notified this week the grant
for the agency had been secured by U.S.

Rep. James Maloney, D-5. "The money will be used as part of a three-pronged
approach to combat substance abuse."

The council, which is affiliated with Birmingham Group Health Services in
Ansonia, has a $5 million annual budget.

The grant will help expand the Stop Program, which is aimed at reducing
alcohol use among minors, pay to disseminate information to merchants on
the legal liabilities of underage drinking, and pay for Valley youth groups
to participate in a community education discussion to help counter the
effects of drugs, alcohol and tobacco promotions to teens.

Educating those who sell liquor to young people and the parents of teens is
a major undertaking, Jones said.

"We are hoping to have education training for liquor vendors in the
Valley," Jones said.

"We want to teach them how to properly card people and what to look out
for, as far as false identifications go."

The money will also pay for billboards and literature to be mailed to
Valley homes detailing the effects of smoking and drinking on young people,
Jones said.

"This is all about raising awareness to the dangers of drinking, smoking
and drugs," Jones said.

City leaders applauded the work being done by the council, and stressed
that funding for drug prevention awareness is essential.

"We think we are chipping away with education on these issues, but we
continue to learn more and more about the use and abuse of alcohol and
drugs," said Mayor Nancy Valentine. "Whatever we can do to combat drug and
alcohol use, and send out the message that it's harmful, helps."

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