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Middle Schools to Receive Meth-Focused Prevention Program
South Dakota Ag Connection - 12/09/2019

The South Dakota Department of Social Services (DSS) today announced that 9 prevention providers statewide will receive funds to support over 40 South Dakota middle schools to provide evidence-based substance use prevention programming, with emphasis on methamphetamine prevention. Governor Kristi Noem's budget for FY20 included $730,000 for school-based meth prevention programming.

"In South Dakota, twice as many 12- to 17-year-old youth reported using meth in the past year as compared to the national average," said DSS Secretary Laurie Gill. "Our youth are at risk and we need to protect them. That starts with education and awareness, and we are pleased to be commit these dollars toward prevention programming."

"Our kids are our future, and it's crucial we teach them the dangers of substance abuse," said Governor Kristi Noem. "These programs are aggressively combating South Dakota's meth epidemic and teaching our kids how to avoid harmful and addictive substances. Programs like these can have a tremendous impact on our students and our hometowns. It's time meth is eradicated from our communities."

On Aug. 19, the Department of Social Services (DSS) published a Request for Proposals (RFP) in order to provide middle schools with meth-focused substance use prevention programing. Nine proposals were received and approved, identifying a projected 40 schools that will receive programming with this funding.

Those approved include Aliive-Roberts County; Human Services Agency dba Northeastern Prevention Resource Center; Human Services Agency dba Watertown Health Youth; Lewis and Clark Behavioral Health Services; Action for the Betterment of Our Community; Youth and Family Services; Volunteers of America Dakotas; Lifeways, Inc. and Prairie View Prevention.

Prevention programming focuses on mitigating risk factors and increasing protective factors -- environment characteristics that can support healthy development. Each of these programs draws attention to distinct issues and outcomes, while emphasizing skill learning such as recognizing and challenging common misconceptions about substance use, practicing resistance skills, and learning personal self-management and social skills.

"The development of these skills will equip students to make healthier and safe choices," continued Gill.

"While our primary emphasis is on decreasing methamphetamine use among our South Dakota youth, implementing universal prevention programs in schools can produce a reduction of other substance use and risky behaviors as well," said DSS Prevention Program Manager Jana Sprenger.

If additional schools are interested in prevention programming, or for more information about behavioral health services related to prevention or to find a prevention provider in your area, contact the Department of Social Services' Division of Behavioral Health at 605-367-5236, toll-free at 1-855-878-6057 or online at http://dss.sd.gov/behavioralhealth/community/.

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