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January 17, 2011 (La Mesa)--Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) is continuing its support of Communities Against Substance Abuse (CASA), East County's oldest, community-based, non-profit organization dedicated solely to substance abuse prevention. The GHD board of directors recently voted unanimously to approve a grant of $49,000 to help fund CASA’s Students Together Against Alcohol ‘N Drugs (STAAND), a youth advocacy program.


STAAND consists of training of between 35 and 50 students enrolled at East County high schools, as well as at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, in leadership and communication skills and education about the negative health risks associated with alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and prescription drug abuse. The trained students, in turn, will help educate over the next year an estimated 8,200 local high school and college students, ages 14 to 24, on substance abuse topics through community activism projects, speaking engagements to their peers in classrooms and media advocacy, such as articles in student newspapers.


GHD has been supporting CASA since 2005, and its STAAND program since 2006. Since the STAAND program began in 2000, more than 200 high school students have served as STAAND-trained educators. Founded in 1986, CASA has been involved in finding community solutions for such substance abuse issues as second-hand smoke in public places, marijuana usage, underage drinking and tobacco sales and high-risk alcohol use in bars and restaurants.


“We are proud to offer our support of this program that builds the confidence and skill of our youth to become change-makers in cultivating healthy communities through activism and career paths,” said Debbie McElravy, 2011 GHD board president.


 For more information about GHD, visit

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