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IMPD, Decatur Township Schools team up to prevent substance abuse

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) -- Stopping the heroin problem before it even begins, it's a new initiative that's in the works.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is teaming up with Decatur Township on a survey. The goal is to get a gauge as to how many teens are at risk of substance abuse and identify risk factors within the community. They're trying to get ahead of the problem. It's an effort that many are on board with.

The George T. Goodwin Community Center is a place where kids hang out and community members consider a second home. Director Toby Salyers likes to think of it as a safe place.

"Safety is very important, yes. So, we have a number of mechanisms in place to ensure our children's safety," Salyers said.

It's not always what's happening within the center that concerns Salyers. The growing drug problem among the youth is a big worry. The Decatur Township School district is now involved.

"We're not having an overdosing problem with our students by any means. I think that if you follow the news or trends nationwide, there are a lot of drug problems sweeping the entire country," said the Director of Public Relations and Community Outreach of Decatur Township Schools, Suzanne Rothenberg.

They're asking people to complete an online survey. The survey asks questions about alcohol abuse as well as tobacco and drug usage.

"We hope to identify what areas the community is going to need more education, more proactive support, we we look at the health of our entire community," said Rothenberg.

Based on the answers, the community could be eligible for a $225,000 federal grant. The goal is to prevent and reduce substance abuse. It's something Saylers hopes will make the community safer and in turn, his community center better.

"So, that's just another layer of ways that we can improve our community and make it a better place to be," he said.

The grant money would be used to form a coalition made up of people and organization. IMPD, local clergy, Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital, and Drug Free of Marion County are a few examples. The money would be dispersed over a few years. If you'd like to take part in the survey, click here.

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