Coalition will use grant to reduce under-age drinking

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A local coalition will seek to reduce underage and binge drinking in Cape Girardeau and Perry counties and in Scott City with a three-year grant from the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse.

The federally funded grant is more than $100,000 a year, project manager Jim Maginel said Friday.

The grant period started in October, but the state only recently approved the plan submitted by the Southeast Missouri Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, he said.

The project will target 12- to 25-year-olds, Maginel said.

One of the project's goals is to reduce the number of illegal sales of alcohol to minors by conducting compliance checks with the help of local law enforcement officers, he said.

Compliance checks are expected to begin locally by the end of May or first part of June, he said.

Some of the grant money will pay the law enforcement expenses associated with the project, Maginel said.

Additional goals include increasing community awareness of the problems associated with underage and binge drinking. Maginel said those problems include unplanned pregnancies, violence and drug abuse.

The project also will work to help expand programs run by various organizations that promote self-esteem and other character traits that help youth steer clear of alcoholic beverages, he said.

The coalition is headquartered in Parker Hall at Southeast Missouri State University.

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