Mountain Projects, Inc. (MPI) has been awarded a “Partnerships for Success” grant for Haywood County.
The funding will allow MPI to work with community partners over the next four years to prevent and reduce underage drinking, as well as electronic- cigarette use and vaping, such as the use of Juul, among youth.
Two-thirds of North Carolina teenagers know people their age who have tried alcohol, and the average age for first-time use is 14 (TalkItOutNC.org).
According to the 2019 Youth Tobacco Survey, 1 in 4 high school students and 10.5 percent of middle school students use e-cigarettes or “vapes.” One million American youth say they vape on a daily basis.
Underage drinking and vaping can both have harmful, long-lasting consequences for adolescents whose brains have not fully developed, said Patti Tiberi, MPI prevention services coordinator.
“Addictive substances like alcohol and nicotine can rewire the developing brain and make it more susceptible to other addictive substances, having a lifelong impact,” Tiberi said.
MPI has hired Libby Ray to serve as the Haywood County PFS grant coordinator.
“This is a community issue, and it will take all parts of our community working together to do something about it,” she said. While the long-range goal of the funding is to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol and drug use in Haywood County, it will also focus on addressing health disparities at the community level.”