BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is calling for joint action to make substance use prevention education available to all Massachusetts public school students during a tour of middle schools that have implemented Project Here, a $2 million public-private initiative that is tackling a significant unmet need in the state’s battle against the ongoing opioid crisis.
This week, Healey will join with mayors, local elected officials, faculty and students in Newburyport, Haverhill, Braintree and Taunton to highlight Project Here programs in middle schools across the state.
“Nothing we can do to fight this epidemic is more important than investing in young people,” said Healey. “Through Project Here, more than 200 public middle schools in Massachusetts now have access to substance use prevention education. It’s time to double down on that commitment and make these resources available in every public school in our state.”
Project Here is making substance use prevention educational resources available to every public middle school in Massachusetts. The initiative promotes social emotional learning and empowers students to make healthy decisions through its three components: an educational toolkit, a digital app, and a grant program for evidence-based curriculum.
More than 200 schools across the state have registered and received the Project Here Toolkit, which provides materials including teacher guides, lesson plans, educational resources, video content, and outreach materials.
Last week, AG Healey and the GE Foundation announced a new grant program from Project Here to fund evidence-based substance use prevention curricula in public middle schools in Massachusetts.
“With partners like AG Healey and support from local municipalities, we’re making real progress in the fight against substance use and the opioid crisis across Boston and Massachusetts,” said Ann R. Klee, President, GE Foundation. “Project Here resources are already helping educate our youth today. These grants provide critical funding to prevent our kids from falling into the vicious cycle of the opioid epidemic.”
Project Here, an initiative announced in May 2017 by the Attorney General’s Office and the GE Foundation, along with Health Resources in Action, Epicenter Experience and The Herren Project, is dedicated to promoting healthy decision-making by making educational resources available to public middle schools at no cost.
The toolkit also provides students the opportunity to connect with a support network staffed by licensed professionals at The Herren Project. Schools that participate in Project Here will also have access to a digital app that will serve as an engaging educational vehicle for students to learn about substance use and practice healthy decision-making skills. The app will be available to registered schools in the fall.
Announced last week, the new grant program from Project Here will fund evidence-based substance use prevention curricula in public middle schools in Massachusetts. This grant will provide selected middle schools funding to implement one of three evidence-based prevention curricula: Botvin LifeSkills Training, Michigan Model for Health, or Positive Action.
Full proposals must be submitted online at www.here.world/grant by 4 PM on June 15, 2018.
The Project Here initiative is the latest effort by AG Healey to address the unmet need for youth prevention and education services to combat the opioid epidemic, a key priority of her administration.
In May, the AG’s Office distributed $700,000 in settlement funding directly to school districts, nonprofits and community organizations to fund prevention programming through its Youth Opioid Prevention Grant Program.
Young people are particularly vulnerable to the risks of substance use. Ninety percent of all adults struggling with addiction started using when they were under the age of 18, and 50 percent were under the age of 15.
Studies have shown that effective substance use education and prevention programming can significantly decrease the risk of substance use among young people.
Above report courtesy of Massachusetts Attorney General’s office