Open Door Awarded $1.5 Million For Drug Abuse Prevention

Rates of alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette use are rising among Ossining students, surveys say.
By Press Release Desk, News Partner Oct 10, 2019 2:37 pm ET


Ossining, NY, OCT 11, 2019 — Open Door Family Medical Center has been awarded a five-year $1.5million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of substance use in children and families in the Ossining School District.

The grant is expected to impact an estimated 5,000 students in grades 4 – 12 over the duration of the program. Surveys show that rates of alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette use, and binge drinking are rising among middle and high school students in Ossining. Open Door will be working in partnership with the Ossining Communities That Care Coalition (OCTC), of which Open Door is a founding member, to combat the problem. OCTC is comprised of people from law enforcement, local and county government, schools, healthcare, business, parents, youth, faith-based, civic groups and substance-use prevention agencies.

“Ossining needs culturally-competent resources to address these problems, as the community is falling short in a number of national benchmarks,” said Helene Kopal, Director, Substance Use Disorder Programs at Open Door. “The grant provides much-needed support to continue our work with OCTC to develop and implement sustainable approaches. This is about prevention; it’s taking a public health approach to deal with risk by creating positive attitudes and community norms to head off use. It’s about fostering an environment that gets kids when they’re young, 11 and 12 years old, and provides alternatives to drinking, smoking or vaping. We are trying to get the clear message to them when they are relatively young that these substances are harmful.”

Main activities will include providing age-appropriate education and information to students and their parents in English and Spanish; training school administrators and other community leaders; developing after-school programs that engage young people in safe, healthy activities; and making school and local policy changes to reduce access to drugs, alcohol and e-cigs.

Open Door Family Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center. Its mission has remained consistent since it opened in 1972: to provide high-quality health care that is affordable, accessible and efficient.

Across six locations in Ossining, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, Mount Kisco, Brewster and Mamaroneck, as well as its eight school-based health centers, Open Door cares for nearly 1,000 adults and children every day – regardless of ability to pay. In addition to Primary Care (including Pediatrics), Dental, Mental Health, Substance Use Services, Women’s Health, Optometry and Podiatry, Open Door promotes wellness, good nutrition, stress reduction and physical activity to help families stay healthy.

This press release was produced by the Open Door Family Medical Center. The views expressed here are the author’s own.