Riley awards grants to reduce underage drinking, drug use

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Gov. Bob Riley has awarded four grants to support agencies that encourage teens to make responsible decisions, reduce underage alcohol consumption and fight illegal drugs.

"The fight against drug and alcohol abuse requires both education and enforcement," said Riley. "These grants will provide positive guidance to teens and will support the agents who apprehend drug dealers and prevent the sale of alcohol to minors."

The Alabama Department of Public Health will use a $108,702 grant to assist Students Against Destructive Decisions. SADD fosters student leadership and provides information on the dangers of underage drinking, impaired driving and other destructive behaviors.

A $133,298 grant to the Alabama chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving will enable the group to continue producing school-based programs designed to deter underage drinking. MADD plans to emphasize the problem of adults purchasing alcohol for minors and conduct awareness campaigns showing how alcohol consumption leads to serious problems for teens.

Two grants totaling $365,000 will help the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board fight illegal drugs and underage drinking. ABC agents investigate businesses suspected of selling alcohol to minors and arrest offenders. The board also provides a pool of undercover drug agents to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to assist in complex, time-consuming investigations.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Riley notified Dr. Donald Williamson of Public Health, Kenneth Watkins of MADD and Emory Folmar of the ABC Board that the grants had been approved.