SHIFT to launch program at community event

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GRAY — SHIFT GNG, a community coalition working to prevent youth substance use, invites all members of the Gray and New Gloucester communities to its launch event at Cole Farms from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11.

Everyone in the community plays a role in preventing youth substance use. That’s the message that the SHIFT GNG Coalition wants the Gray and New Gloucester community to understand.

“The most effective, proven ways to reduce youth substance use are to involve the adults in the community, rather than focusing directly on youth,” said Joanne Grant, a Gray parent and chairwoman of the SHIFT GNG Coalition, as well as a substance abuse counselor for teens.

“We need to consider the messages we send and the culture that exists around substance use, as well as how we can work together to keep an eye on our kids, and reduce their access to drugs and alcohol,” she said.

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Tickets for the launch are available for $10 online at www.shiftGNG.org or in person at Cole Farms, and include a buffet dinner and the chance to win nearly $1,000 in door prizes.

Tickets must be purchased in advance by Monday, Feb. 6. For more information, call 773-7737 or email shiftGNG@mcd.org.

The event will provide a forum for discussion of community strengths and areas that need more attention, as well as an opportunity for the coalition to outline some of its strategies for preventing youth substance use.

The five-year plan calls for strengthening communication networks among parents; enhancing parents’ skills for talking to their kids about substance use and monitoring to prevent it; increasing law enforcements’ response to underage drinking; dispelling myths and raising awareness of risks; and highlighting ways that all adults can send a positive, consistent message about youth substance use.

 In March, SHIFT GNG will submit an application to the federal substance abuse agency (SAMHSA) for $625,000 over five years to implement community-based prevention activities. Day One, a youth substance abuse and mental health agency, will serve as the fiscal agent for the grant.

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