CASAC Receives NYS Grant to Address Opioid Crisis


Article Contributed by
Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council

Governor Cuomo announced on September 14th distribution of $25 million in federal funding to address the opioid crisis in New York State. Chautauqua Alcohol & Substance Abuse Council (CASAC) was one of the award recipients. CASAC will receive $100,000 to provide evidence-based prevention programs to underserved, hard-to-reach youth, and other at-risk populations in the City of Dunkirk.

A collaboration has been established with the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County and the Salvation Army’s after-school Programs. Youth and adults will have the opportunity to engage in the “Too Good” evidence-based, after-school program. This program focuses on prevention education through social and emotional learning, empowering youth and teens with skills needed for academic, social and life successes. Elementary and middle school students will engage in positive, engaging, age-appropriate activities including games, stories and songs. The program reinforces basic prevention concepts, including decision making, self-esteem building, coping skills, goal setting, assertiveness skills and conflict resolution. The high school curriculum involves interactive games and activities that provide practical guidance on dating and relationships, building healthy friendships, and refusing negative peer influence. The lessons foster analysis and discussion on the effects of alcohol, tobacco, other drug use, including prescription and over the counter drugs and various nicotine delivery devices.

In addition to providing prevention programs for youth, family engagement is also a key component of this initiative. CASAC will be offering the Active Parenting program to the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County and the Salvation Army. Active Parenting focuses on the following topics: active parenting, cooperation and communication, responsibility & discipline, building courage and self-esteem, understanding and redirecting misbehavior, and active parenting for school success.

The last component of this initiative will involve providing intervention services for individuals ages 12 and up that are using mildly to moderately. CASAC will also work with families that have a concern about a loved one with a substance use order. A prevention educator will be available to meet with families one on one for education, information and referral to other agencies, and resources available in Chautauqua County and Western New York.

Funding for this project is made possible by the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This new funding stream is anticipated to impact approximately 300 participants. CASAC’s Board of Directors and staff are excited about this opportunity and are pleased to provide additional services for the City of Dunkirk. If you have any questions about this new initiative, please contact Melanie Witkowski at 366-4623 or 664-3608.

Since 1974, CASAC, a United Way partner agency, has provided prevention education and community awareness regarding alcohol and other drugs. CASAC is the only New York State Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) approved and supported alcohol and other drug prevention agency in Chautauqua County. For further information about CASAC programs and services, call the Jamestown office at 664-3608, the Dunkirk office at 366-4623, or go to CASAC’s website,