SPAN receives $50,000 grant to address youth alcohol use

The Substance Prevention Alliance of Needham (SPAN) announced 9/15/21 it received a $50,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAHMSA) to address youth alcohol use. The federal grant is known as the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act grant, or the STOP Act grant. The goal of the four year STOP Act grant is to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth and young adults ages 12-20 in Needham.

The activities implemented by this project will aim to address community norms regarding alcohol use by youth, reduce opportunities for underage drinking by limiting youth access to alcohol, create changes in underage drinking enforcement efforts, address penalties for underage use, and reduce the prevalence of negative consequences associated with underage drinking. In addition, SPAN will build on strategic plans that were developed under the Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant which was awarded to Needham for ten years.

“As we have learned from the MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey data over the years, there is underage drinking in Needham. The good news is that past 30-day use tells us that 71% of high schoolers have not used alcohol,” said Karen Shannon, Program Director in the Needham Public Health Division. In addition to community education, Shannon reports, “We will work with law enforcement and other community stakeholders to create strategies to enhance the work already underway from DFC funds.”

SPAN is a community coalition that works to implement strategies for youth substance use prevention. Drawing on the strengths of a civic-minded and collaborative community, SPAN offers Needham residents education, support and resources for navigating substance use and misuse among our youth. For more information about SPAN, visit