Watertown’s Wayside Youth & Family Support Network Multi-Service Center received grant tow work with other communities to prevent underage drinking and drug use.
Wayside will work with the Watertown Health Department, and join with similar efforts in Belmont, Waltham and Brookline, said Wayside Community Organizer Melanie St. Pierre.
The group of communities, or cluster, will form the Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative (SAPC) and will receive $100,000 for five years from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (MADPH) Bureau of Substance Abuse Services (BSAS).
Underage drinking is an important thing to target, she said, because it can leads to other substances.
“People question with the opioid crisis why we are focusing on drinking,” St. Pierre said. “Alcohol is still the most commonly used substance by young kids. Underage drinking has spill over into other drugs. We look at is as other drug prevention.”
Watetown has received similar grants in the past, and used the funds for anti-drinking and drugs media campaigns, getting data out from risk assessment survey of Watertown students, underage drinking enforcement and have guest speakers at Watertown Middle School and Watertown High School.
St. Pierre said they communities will work together and share strategies.