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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Mental Health Receives Grant to Prevent Substance Abuse

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 18, 2009  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Beth Fisher, (502) 564-6786, ext. 3325 and 4012  

 Project to Include Awareness Video 
Kentucky recently was chosen as one of 11 states to develop a video to combat underage drinking, a major mental health concern in Kentucky and across the country. The project will be funded through a grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Representatives from the Department for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services (MHDDAS), the Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky State Police, Alcohol Beverage Control, Alcohol Prevention Enhancement Site, Kentucky Regional Prevention Center system, local community coalitions, college students and concerned citizens are serving on a steering committee to guide the production of the video.

“One of the major goals of the video is to educate and empower parents, youth and organizations by making them aware of what is occurring and how they can become involved,” said Donna Hillman, director of the division of mental health and substance abuse services. “Underage drinking is a major health concern in Kentucky. This project will aid us in our work to prevent it.”

According to a MHDDAS survey, underage drinking in Kentucky, though below the national average, is high. The survey results showed that 20.1 percent of Kentucky teenagers tried beer, wine or hard liquor for the first time in 10th grade, compared to a national rate of 24.4 percent. In addition, 13.8 percent of Kentucky high school students reported trying alcohol for the first time as 12th graders (compared to 18 percent nationally).

“This video will provide Kentucky an opportunity to highlight the many programs and initiatives occurring across our state to reduce the incidence of underage drinking and its negative consequences,” said Amy Baker, MHDDAS substance abuse prevention program manager. “We hope this video will raise awareness about the dangers and prevalence of alcohol consumption of young people and serve as a call-to-action on how we can all play a role in the elimination of underage drinking.”

Marco International, a production company, is assisting with the video, which will be filmed around the state. Production is expected to be complete by April.

For more information about the video or the dangers of underage drinking, contact Baker at (502) 564-4448 or visit the MHDDAS Web site at



Last Updated 3/18/2009