Updated: Thursday, 13 Dec 2012, 7:50 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 13 Dec 2012, 7:50 PM EST
VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - A pair of southern Indiana counties are teaming up to take on the problem of underage drinking and drug abuse.
Knox and Sullivan Counties are working together through a $200,000 Communities That Care grant to find local solutions to the problem.
The project is getting organized and ready to roll.
You may not see it..but officials at hospitals in southern Indiana and at jails in Knox and Sullivan County know that drug and alcohol use among young people is a real problem.
"There's a problem with getting kids to recognize this is not the thing to do," said Peter Haskins with Life After Meth. "Alcohol and drug use, we've got to start young. The average age at the Knox County Jail to begin drug use is 14 years old."
To try and deal with the problem about 20 community leaders gathered at the Fort Sackville Room at Vincennes University to learn about a new endeavor called Communities that Care.
The grant funded community based program has worked in other cities and the belief is it will work here.
"I absolutely believe that with the community behind this process the goal to at least cut back on the drug and alcohol use of juveniles would definitely be something that we could achieve," said Vincennes Assistant Police Chief Terry Johnson.
The Communities that Care project is going to last several years and officials say they believe their first meeting here was a good start.
"This is a community endeavor with..basically promoting community input, so the more players the better," said Communities That Care Coordinator Terry Cohen, "so I think we're off to a rousing start."
The project may have a good start, but those working on it know that to get results they will have to be in it for the long haul.
"This is a several years project we're committing to," said Haskins, "and we're really excited about getting started."
Because the goal is to cut down on issues at the jail and the hospital caused by kids who abuse drugs and alcohol.
The Communities That Care grant will run for 2 years with additional funding possibilities for 3 years after that.
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