Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today announced the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded a $9 million federal grant to West Virginia because of its comprehensive partnership effort to expand substance and mental health prevention services statewide. The grant is for a 5-year period, with $1.8 million provided each year.
"West Virginia received this grant because of the relationships that we've built and our efforts in bringing together nationally renowned experts to tackle the fight against substance abuse," Gov. Tomblin said. "Substance use and mental health disorders threaten West Virginia's families, workforce, and communities, with more than 152,000 individuals in need of treatment. This grant enhances last year's Substance Abuse legislation, Senate Bill 437, as well as other important policy changes we are making to address this issue."
The West Virginia Partnerships for Success (WVPFS) project will use the grant to focus on decreasing underage drinking and prescription drug abuse in 12 high-need identified counties, expanding college prevention initiatives and improving community norms statewide.
WVPFS is a partnership among the West Virginia Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, the Governor's Advisory Council on Substance Abuse, the Center for Health and Safety Culture at Montana State University, Penn State University Prevention Research Center, and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.
"Considering West Virginia has the nation's highest rate of drug deaths, this project has the potential to reach more than 66,000 youth with a potential impact of nearly 450,000 citizens," Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) Cabinet Secretary Karen L. Bowling said. "It's imperative to reach parents and children about the dangers of substance use and provide them with the tools to be drug-free."