I was pleased to join Congresswoman Niki Tsongas and Sheriff Frank Cousins as they announced the awarding of a $280,000 grant to the Essex County Sheriff’s Office for programs to educate high school students about substance abuse. Methuen High School, under the leadership of Dean Brouder and Principal Jim Giuca, has an outstanding program with heavy student participation. We were able to interact with students who participate in this great program at the event, and several students spoke to us about the value of this program. Sheriff Cousins has done an outstanding job on this program, and the Sheriff and I are deeply grateful for the partnership with Niki Tsongas, who has brought needed federal resources to this program. Below is the Press Release by the Office of the Congresswoman.
Tsongas and Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins announce federal funds for substance abuse prevention program for local high school students
METHUEN, MA – October 7, 2010 – This afternoon at Methuen High School, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas presented the Essex County Sherriff’s Department with $280,000 in federals fund that will help sustain their Comprehensive Substance Abuse Education and Treatment Program in local schools for the 2010-2011 school year. Tsongas presented the funds to Sherriff Frank Cousins and was also joined by Methuen Mayor Bill Manzi, Methuen school administrators and students that have benefitted from the program.
“These federal funds will help continue the highly successful ‘Towards No Drug Use’ program in Essex County High Schools during these difficult economic and budgetary times,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. “Through the program, high school students learn about the importance of saying no to drugs, avoiding violence and other strategies for being successful in life. Sheriff Cousins and Methuen High should be commended for working cooperatively to help students avoid barriers to successes and excel in school.”
“This project was first supported by our late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and has succeeded in creating a positive influence in the lives of students at schools throughout Essex County,” said Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins. “There are too many young men and women who end up in jail because of drugs and alcohol and it is so important that they have access to the educational resources and support that helps them make good decisions. The ‘Towards No Drug Use’ program is one of those critical resources and I would like to thank Congresswoman Tsongas for her strong support of this initiative.”
The “Towards No Drug Use” (TND) program teaches drug abuse and violence prevention to students at high schools throughout Essex County, including at Methuen & Lawrence High Schools. The program is administered collaboratively through the local high school, community based organizations and law enforcement agencies and has been credited with helping students make healthy decisions and focus on their life goals. The funds, secured by Tsongas as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2010, will cover the clinical portions of the program, as well as provide books and materials for participating students. The program may also be replicated by similar agencies throughout Massachusetts, New England, and nationally.
“Each year, my staff and I meet with local elected officials, city and town managers, directors of nonprofit organizations, major employers, economic development specialists, first responders, health providers, and university administrators in our area to find out where the Fifth Congressional District could benefit most from federal investment and how exactly this federal investment would be used,” explained Congresswoman Tsongas. “As my constituent’s liaison to the federal government, I submit those projects that advance these goals in our communities, and which meet the strict requirements established by the agency within the government that would provide funding for them, as well as the appropriate committee of jurisdiction in Congress. The Towards No Drug Use’ program met all of these criteria which is why they were awarded the federal funds they received today.