News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Restore money for local substance abuse program

The Morgan County Substance Abuse Network is on shaky footing this week after failing to get its federal grant of $100,000 renewed after five years of funding. And that's an awful shame.

While the grant is for a lot of money, if the activities under the MCSAN umbrella are responsible for keeping just one youngster from getting hooked on an addictive substance each year, the program is cost efficient.

Getting a person through detox is expensive; helping the person stay clean becomes a lifetime project that is a roller coaster ride of emotions. That alone would cost more than the yearly grant.

Sue Brantley is co-chairwoman of MCSAN, which has a 22-year history of service to the county. She found out last week that hers is one of 63 community programs that failed to be renewed. No reason given. No warning. Somebody in the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington, D.C., which took over application approval this year, made an arbitrary decision that could kill the local network that touches thousands of young lives every year.

Some people work because they need jobs. What Ms. Brantley does as head of the Mental Health Association of Morgan County is a calling. She sees needs, sells them to local agencies and recruits volunteers.

Some programs lose steam and effectiveness with age. But not MCSAN. If you want to see youths involved in drug awareness, come out to the Red Ribbon March in Decatur on Saturday. It will form in the parking lot across from the courthouse.

Morgan County doesn't need to lose this program.

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