Published on September 24th, 2019 | by Burlington Partnership


We Just Received Almost 1.5 Million Dollars to Prevent Addiction in BTV!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Prevention Group Receives Nearly 1.5 Million Dollars
to Prevent Substance Misuse in Burlington

BURLINGTON –On August 27th, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded local coalition, the Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community (BPHC), a grant totaling $1,465,045 over 5 years. BPHC’s new Partnerships for Success grant will fund up to $300,000 a year to support community-driven efforts to reduce and prevent youth substance use in Burlington and the Champlain Valley School District (CVSD).

Underage drinking, high risk drinking, and youth marijuana use rates in VT are among the highest in the nation. National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) 2014 – 2016 data indicate the prevalence of underage drinking in the past month in VT (16.25%) is nearly 8 points greater than the national average (8.53%). Past month underage drinking prevalence in the Champlain Valley region (35.93%) is the highest in all of VT (NSDUH, 2014 – 2016). In addition, the prevalence of binge drinking is higher in Vermont than in the country overall (NSDUH 2016 – 2017) and a concerning 49.3% of VT young adults (18-25) report binge drinking in the last 30 days among all age groups. Rates of young adult alcohol use, binge drinking, and marijuana use reported by young adults in Chittenden County were significantly higher than the overall VT rates (2017 Vermont Young Adult Survey). Furthermore, NSDUH 2016 – 2017 results suggest both past month and past year marijuana use among 12-17 year-olds were higher in VT (10.75% and 17.88%, respectively) than in any other state in the nation. Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS, 2017) results show the percentage of Burlington High School students who are current marijuana users is 5% higher than the national average.

The Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community applied for a competitive national SAMHSA Grant called Partnerships for Success this spring with the support of their fiscal agent NFI, Vermont. BPHC was one of 113 organizations that were funded across the US, and one of only two in VT. They will use the funding to support a long-term approach to address the social norms and other risk factors for youth substance use and increase the protective factors for kids and adults in Burlington. The grant will fund staff to coordinate prevention efforts among Burlington stakeholders and service organizations, including a unified and collaborative approach to improve student health and wellness in the Burlington School District (BSD). The grant allows the organization to expand parent education and support for prevention in the Burlington and Champlain Valley School Districts. The work in both areas will also focus on empowering youth to have a voice at the table to help shape peer and public perception of substance use and improve policies that make it harder for youth to make healthy choices. The youth work will use the One Voice Youth Empowerment Model, which focuses heavily on proving opportunities for teens to connect with peers who are making the choice to be substance free during this crucial time in their development.

“We are beyond thrilled to receive this funding to support the Burlington community. There are three main factors that contribute to preventing addiction: individual experience, genetics, and environment. Our work will focus primarily on the environment,” says BPHC’s Director Mariah Sanderson. “Often the accessibility of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and other drugs and our permissive social norms can lead to kids using at an earlier age. We know that the earlier a person starts using substances, the greater their chances of developing a substance use disorder. Ninety percent of adults with a substance use disorder (SUD) started using alcohol or drugs before they turned 18! 90%! Our efforts will focus on delaying the age of first drug or alcohol use as long as possible while their brains are still developing and enhancing supports in Burlington. We are committed to working with our partners to ensure the healthy choice is the easiest choice for all of our community members. Preventing more people from developing a substance use disorder will save lives.”

About Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community
Substance misuse and dependence is a public health crisis affecting virtually every person in our small community in some way. Through partnerships, community engagement, education, and proven best practices, we work to impact this crisis and reduce the causes and consequences of substance abuse on the city of Burlington. BPHC aims to change the cultural norms that support substance misuse and create opportunities for individuals and partners to work together on strategies to improve policy, practice and community design on both a local and a state level. Check us out online at: and on Facebook.

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