WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — Two organizations in the North Country have received grants to help reduce youth substance abuse use in their communities.

The United Prevention Coalition of Lewis County located in Lowville and the Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment located in Hogansburg have been awarded funding through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program. Both organizations received $125,000.

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program is run by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The program is considered the “nation’s leading effort” to prevent and reduce substance abuse in youth in communities.

The program is able to award grants through the Drug-Free Communities Act, which is administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and managed through a partnership between ONDCP and the CDC.

Drug-Free Communities supports coalitions and focuses on “local problems, local solutions.”

In the Fiscal Year 2020, 733 Drug-Free Communities Program Coalitions were awarded funding across the country. This included both Lowville and Hogansburg.

NY-21 Congresswoman Elise Stefanik announced this funding and commented on how it will benefit these North Country communities.

“The North Country has seen an unfortunate spike in drug and substance abuse issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congresswoman Stefanik. “This funding will provide important resources to our communities and help further the efforts of educating and preventing our youth from turning to substance abuse. I will always support initiatives to keep our kids safer and on the path toward better opportunities.”

A full list of award recipients can be found on the CDC website.