RUTLAND The Vermont Department of Health has awarded a drug and alcohol prevention grant to the Rutland Area Prevention Coalition to develop, strengthen and maintain substance abuse prevention services in Rutland County and throughout the state. The grant will impact underage drinking and high-risk alcohol and marijuana use by Vermonters age 25 and younger. The prevalence rates in Vermont among 18-to-25 year-olds for alcohol consumption, binge drinking, and marijuana use has declined in the past 10 years, but continues to be well above national averages. This grant provides a strategy for each community to address their unique needs, while being supported by an overarching statewide plan. These collaborative efforts aim to promote constructive lifestyles and norms that discourage substance use. Our organization has been providing prevention services for ten years, said Marian Ackerman, Coordinator of the RAP Coalition. This grant allows us to use our experience and existing partnerships in the region to increase the amount of work we can do to build a healthier community. This grant allows for a renewed focus on educating youth, young adults, their parents and the community about alcohol and drug issues before substance abuse becomes a life-long problem, said Deputy Health Commissioner of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs Barbara Cimaglio. Our hope is that this opportunity will mobilize a new generation of prevention leaders. The funds come from the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) grant that was awarded to the Health Department by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For more information about the Strategic Prevention Framework grant, a list of the grantees, and information about Vermonts Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program, go to http://healthvermont.gov .