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Butte CARES receives federal grant to combat youth substance abuse

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Sep 12 2013 05:40:54 PM MDT
Updated On: Sep 12 2013 06:53:09 PM MDT
BUTTE, Mont. -

A Butte organization aimed at fighting underage substance abuse just received a federal grant to continue their efforts.

NBC Montana spoke to the president of the Butte CARES organization to see what they're going to do with the money and how they help the community.

We met with Pat Prendergast Thursday morning to learn more.

"Butte CARES is a community coalition," Prendergast explained. "Our primary function is to provide education awareness and use resources to help reduce substance abuse by our young people."

The Office of National Drug Control Policy recently awarded the organization a $125,000 grant to continue their efforts. Butte CARES was one of the three Montana-based grant recipients and will receive $125,000 per year in DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.  

Butte CARES partners with other community groups like Mariah's Challenge, and school programs.

"We initiated a campaign called 'Above the Influence,'" Prendergast explained. "The majority of our kids don't drink or use drugs, so we are asking them to celebrate that and to use that as a helpful educational tool."

Butte CARES works with the Butte School District as they also try to combat underage substance abuse.

"They've been a really good resource," said East Middle School Assistant Principal Keith Miller, "and in this day and age where resources for schools are minimal."

East Middle School is a school that works with Butte CARES.

"They've stood up for kids and the needs for kids, and they've stood up for kids who can't stand up for themselves," Miller explained.

Miller explained this grant money will trickle down into the schools through Butte CARES.

"Being able to have resources in the community like Butte CARES is really, really important," Miller said.

The grant is part of $19.8 million of grants handed out by the drug-free communities support programs. 147 communities across the nation received money.