MADISON —Sixty-six school districts throughout Wisconsin have received funding that will help reduce or prevent the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs among their students through a competitive grant program.
The Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Program Grants provide funding to public schools to teach skills and supply information aimed at preventing alcohol and illegal drug use. Both individual school districts and consortium projects, in which clusters of neighboring schools work together, received competitive grant awards. The state-funded grants totaled $885,700 and went to 45 projects serving students in 66 Wisconsin school districts.
“This grant funding gives school districts support to address alcohol, drug abuse, and school safety concerns,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Though data show that we’ve made tremendous progress in curbing alcohol use, Wisconsin’s underage drinking rates are still quite high compared to the nation. Grant-funded activities that curb drug use will help improve the school climate, making schools safer and more welcoming for all kids.”
Many of the projects receiving AODA grant funding provide a comprehensive approach to prevent or eliminate the use of alcohol and illegal drugs among students, using multiple strategies and linking resources from home, community agencies, and the school. Grants may be renewed for one additional year of funding through the 2018-19 school year.
Results from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), given last spring to 2,067 students in 43 public schools, who are representative of the state’s ninth- through 12th-grade students, showed that alcohol use is down about 24 percentage points from 2001, though 30 percent of students report using alcohol in the past 30 days and 18 percent report binge drinking (down 16 percentage points from 2001). Survey data show students who were offered, sold, or given an illegal drug by someone on school property during the past 12 months, was down 8 percentage points from 2001 to a little over 18 percent. Marijuana use in the past 30 days continues to drop and is at 16 percent; 9 percentage points lower than in 2001. Smoking cigarettes is also down since 2001 by 25 percentage points to 8 percent. Two new questions on the YRBS survey indicate future work is needed in the areas of electronic cigarette usage, which is at 11 percent and, most concerning, prescription pain medication misuse, which stands at slightly over 11 percent.
“Our kids show amazing insight and independence, but are still in need of adult guidance to find their way to a healthy, productive future,” Evers said.
The Department of Public Instruction's (DPI) AODA program, first authorized under Chapter 331, Laws of 1979, is designed to help local school districts utilize their staff and program resources to develop comprehensive AODA programs. Funding for the AODA competitive grants is authorized as part of the state’s biennial budget.
NOTES: A list of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Program grant recipients is in the official news release. More information about the state’s AODA program can be found online.