Funding to help schools in central Indiana develop substance abuse prevention programs is available. The new grant initiative called Prevention Matters from the Fairbanks Foundation aims to connect Marion County students with opportunities for education.
High school aged students who receive proven prevention education are more than 60 percent less likely to use hard drugs like heroin or cocaine.
Claire Fiddian-Green, president at the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation in Indianapolis, says the organization became focused on the effort in response to the state’s opioid epidemic.
“We couldn’t help asking ourselves you know, what if we could prevent people from becoming addicted in the first place?” Fiddian-Green says.
Schools and other student organizations can apply now for the non-competitive planning grants that will provide resources to explore what program opportunities might be best for their students. Fiddian-Green says the program options have years of participant evidence behind them.
“Track them both short and long-term and see were they less likely to try drugs, more likely to decrease their use of drugs and less likely to become addicted later in life,” says Fiddian-Green.
Research that shows people who use drugs early, starting in middle or high school, are more likely to face addiction.
Fiddian-Green says the evidence-based programs have shown reduced risk and added benefits.
“They also have positive benefits, their academic performance, their classroom behavior and then discipline in the schools,” Fiddian-Green says.
Around 300 schools in Marion County are eligible to apply for a planning grants that will be awarded in March.
The Fairbanks Foundation also provides funding for WFYI's public health reporting initiative, Side Effects Public Media, which did not contribute to this report.