Area P.I.E. Coalition names 2006 grants

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A piece of P.I.E. may just be what several local organizations have hoped for.

The P.I.E. Coalition is a local coordinating council of the Governor's Commission for a Drug-Free Indiana. The Governor's Commission for a Drug-Free Indiana was started in 1989 by Gov. Evan Bayh. P.I.E., standing for Prevention, Intervention, and Education, is a cooperative county-wide effort to reduce the abuse and illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs; to implement a comprehensive plan of prevention, intervention, education, treatment and justice for all persons of the county; and to coordinate efforts to combat chemical dependency that exist in the county and to enhance their effectiveness.

Dawn Wordsworth-Wade began her position as the coordinator of the P.I.E. Coalition this year. Before she took this position she previously worked at the state level on the governor's commission. She said that all 92 counties have a local coordinating council. P.I.E. just happens to be the name the Putnam County local coordinating council has chosen for themselves.

P.I.E. uses money generated from fines and penalties levied in Putnam County courts to fight alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse by awarding grants to individuals, organizations, agencies, schools and law enforcement.

"We have to spend that money and we have to spend it a specific way," Wordsworth-Wade said of the Drug-Free Communities Fund.

They give out grants in three categories: prevention/education, treat-ment/intervention and law enforcement/justice.

These grants just handed out.

These organizations receive a grant package in which they fill out many segments of information including the way the grant deals with a specific problem being addressed by the local coordinating council.

These problems come from the comprehensive community plan and are submitted to the state each year. They are:

-- Adult and youth substance abuse rates remain high in Putnam County.

-- Putnam County residents have limited knowledge/awareness of the treatment process or treatment alternatives for substance abuse.

-- Putnam County has a high rate of traffic arrests involving impaired drivers.

-- Putnam County has too many adult and juvenile crimes involving tobacco, alcohol and other drugs.

The grant proposal also includes statistics, where the statistics came from and then how this problem would be addressed.

The approved grants for 2006 went to Fillmore Elementary and South Putnam Schools for prevention/education. Grants were awarded to the Hamilton Center, South Putnam Schools and Cummins Behavioral Health for treatment/intervention.

The law enforcement/justice grants were awarded to the Greencastle Police Department, Putnam County Community Corrections, Putnam County Adult Probation, and Greencastle High School.

Wordsworth-Wade said it is very encouraging to see the end results of the grant process. There is a lot of unseen effort that most don't know about, she said.

Yet, there is also a lot of seen effort.

P.I.E . is very involved in the schools. Wordsworth-Wade said the governor's commission's big focus is on youth.

She went to college to become an English teacher and has a heart for today's youth.

"Anytime you are teaching, you want to help youth," Wordsworth-Wade said.

These reasons and more are why the P.I.E. Coalition can be seen in local high school health fairs handing out alcohol, tobacco and other drug pamphlets.

They also have several monthly events. P.I.E. breakfasts are held September through May at Jackson Family Double Decker Restaurant.

Attendees will gain insight into local efforts to curb alcohol and tobacco abuse by experts in the field. Plus, every third Monday of every month, except July, P.I.E. meets at 6 p.m. at the Greencastle Police Depart-ment.

All are welcome to attend the volunteer organization meetings and membership is open to the general public.

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