June 20, 2008
Major grants received for drug abuse intervention

The Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition (CSAC) and the city of Revere, in collaboration with Revere CARES, will receive support from major grants from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Boston Public Health Commission for their efforts to reduce drug overdoses. Supported by the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement and the MGH Charlestown and Revere health care centers, CSAC and Revere CARES will receive $80,000 to $100,000 for the next three years and will be required to conduct an extensive assessment of factors that contribute to drug overdose as well as develop strategic plans for reducing those overdoses.

Both groups use science-based strategies promoted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to prevent and reduce substance abuse among young people. Including MGH Revere staff, local government officials, residents, schools, police and others, Revere CARES was formed in 1997 to combat underage drinking and has seen much progress. In Revere, lifetime alcohol use has long been higher than the state average, but over the past six years, it has declined to the current state rate. A collaborative effort between MGH Charlestown, local officials and leaders, police and social service agencies, CSAC was established in 2004 in response to alarming rates of substance abuse — particularly heroin and OxyContin — in Charlestown. In its first four years the program already has made major strides: Heroin overdose calls to emergency medical services decreased 17 percent between 2003 and 2006 even as calls increased citywide; and drug abuse mortality rates have decreased by 41 percent between 2004 and 2006.

For more information about CSAC, contact Beth Rosenshein, LICSW, program director, at (617) 726-6684 or brosenshein@partners.org. For more information about Revere CARES, contact Rosina "Kitty" Bowman, director, at (781) 485-6132 or rbowman@partners.org

grant winners

FIGHTING SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino (standing, center) is joined by Michael Botticelli of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (standing, far left); Ann Mahony of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration (standing, second from left); and Barbara Ferrer, MD, of the Boston Public Health Commission (standing, fourth from left) in congratulating CSAC and other Boston grant recipients. CSAC members pictured are Michael Charbonnier (standing, third from left); Peggy Carolan-Bolognese (standing, third from right); Kate McDonough (seated, third from left); and Rosenshein (seated, fourth from left).

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