Wednesday, June 14, 2000

$2.4 million to battle drug abuse

New center to teach, assist others

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Many organizations and politicians say efforts to prevent alcohol and drug abuse should be expanded. On Tuesday, the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati backed up its talk with more than $2.4 million.

        The money was used to create the ASAP Center, a resource agency that plans to teach and assist other organizations about the latest thinking in preventing substance abuse.

        In recent years, researchers have learned much more about what works and what doesn't when it comes to helping people avoid addiction. But much of that learning has not filtered out to the many schools, churches, youth groups, senior groups and other organizations that deal with people most at-risk for trouble with alcohol and drugs.

        That's the goal of the ASAP Center, Director Vicki Culler said. ASAP stands for Assistance for Substance Abuse Prevention.

        The money from the Health Foundation will support the ASAP Center for six years at $400,000 a year.

        In addition to a three-member staff, a downtown office with meeting space and money for training and educational materials, the Health Foundation grant will allow the ASAP Center to give away mini-grants of its own.

        The first two were announced Tuesday:

        • $4,800 to Cincinnati Area Senior Services to support forming more substance abuse support groups for older women.

        • $5,000 to WMKV-FM (89.3) to produce radio spots aimed at senior citizens to run twice a day for six months, starting in fall.

        Forming the ASAP Center was an unusual move for the Health Foundation, which became one of the Tristate's largest charities in 1997 after receiving more than $250 million from the sale of the ChoiceCare HMO to Humana Inc.

        Typically, the foundation supports existing agencies, President Don Hoffman said. But the ASAP Center will fill an unmet need in one of the foundation's core focus areas: substance abuse, severe mental illness, school-based health programs and health services for poor people.

        For information about the ASAP Center, call 412-6961.


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