Drug Free Coweta Gets Major Funding Grant


From Special Reports

The Drug Free Coweta Coalition announced that a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) grant has been secured.  The $625,000 grant, which spans five years and provides $125,000 per year, will be used to continue and enhance the work of the coalition in opioid and prescription drug education and misuse prevention.

“We could not be more pleased to move forward with the foundation we have established over the last few years,” said leadership team member Dr. David Coplan, who is the director of pharmacy for Piedmont Newnan.  “It is a testament to our volunteers and administrators who remained active once the initial DBHDD grant ended in April of 2020.  Everyone continued to promote substance abuse prevention and looked for ways to sustain the effort, and it has paid off.”

The Drug Free Coweta grant will be eligible for a five-year continuate grant in 2025, potentially bringing total funding of $1.25 million over a 10-year period.

The coalition leadership worked for more than a year with the administrator, AVPRIDE, which previously administered the 3-year start-up grant.  “We appreciate working with the AVPRIDE team and look forward to our journey ahead,” Copeland said.

Coalition leadership team member Sharon Roger, owner of Newnan GNC, has led the Drug Take Back Day efforts in Coweta.  “Knowing Drug Free Coweta is funded for the next 5 years and potentially 10 years is great news!  It is a relief to know this strong community coalition will continue its impactful work to prevent substance abuse in Coweta County.”

Dr. Tami Morris, AVPRIDE CEO, congratulated the Coweta leadership and coalition for their perseverance and the work they put towards applying for the federal grant.  

“This was not an easy process, yet, working with this team of highly professional and energetic coalition members and staff made the process a worthwhile mission,” she said.  “Aside from actually receiving the grant, we are very pleased to be able to share that Drug Free Coweta exceeded the minimum acceptance score by 8 points.  The judges identified several areas of strength including community involvement & support, data collection & trends, administrator staff capabilities, and thorough work plans with flexibility, diversity, and a focus on youth engagement.”

The grant evaluators commented that, in the short time that the coalition has existed, “they have gathered a great deal of support to aggressively address the issues in the community with prescription painkiller and other opioid abuse. The coalition has a wide range of supporters who appear to be deeply invested in solving their community problems.”

Morris noted the important and significant contributions of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) which identified Coweta as a high needs community in 2017 and provided the seed money to initiate the coalition and the work.  “DBHDD works diligently all across the state to jumpstart programs that will serve communities for years to come.  Creating sustainability is their goal, and now Coweta is a perfect example of how to move forward,” said Dr. Morris.

The 2021 work of the Drug Free Coweta Coalition kicks off with a virtual leadership planning meeting on Fri., Jan. 15, at 1:30 that is open to all those interested.  The first coalition meeting is planned for late February.  For more information or a link to Friday’s meeting, contact Dr. Morris at [email protected].  Messages and texts can be sent to 770-716-2797.  More information is available at drugfreecoweta.org.  For more information on the Drug Free Communities program, visit: https://tinyurl.com/drugfreecommunity.

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