Generous grant given to prevent substance abuse

May 15, 2013

A major collaborative created to fight substance abuse has received a big boost. The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation awarded a $277,406.00 grant to Px20

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Px 20 is comprised of ten different substance abuse prevention and mental health agencies.

The funding will allow the program to expand in several areas.

Executive director of the foundation, Tracy Sawicki, said the Tower Foundation "cares deeply" about the issue of substance abuse.

"One of the most effective ways that we can lower the human and societal costs of substance abuse is to deal with prevention -- stop it from happening first -- first and foremost, and we think that's a good investment. Our foundation believes that investment in this work is a good decision.  One that we know is going to yield return on that investment and, ultimately, one that is going to make our community a much better place," said Sawicki.

The Erie County Department of Mental Health and Buffalo State's Center for Health and Social Research guide the project.

Project leaders were joined by the Erie County Sheriff, U.S. Attorney and the Drug Enforcement Administration.  They gathered in the ceremonial courtroom at Erie County Hall Wednesday for a check presentation. 

Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard
Credit WBFO News photos by Eileen Buckley

Sheriff Timothy Howard praises the effort by all the agencies.

"All of the partners -- all the law enforcement -- including the prosecutors to the each and ever person, we are all working together and we are all making a difference," said Howard.

Sheriff Howard said given a chance, the norms toward drug abuse can be changed, much like the crackdown on DWI and underage drinking.

Px20 will now be able to provide evaluation and data collection. The program will also create substance abuse prevention activities and a large media campaign will be created to target parents, youth and general population.