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Federal grants target prescription drug abuse among young people in East Tennessee

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — State officials say community drug coalitions are spending $7 million in federal grants to fight prescription drug abuse among young people in 10 eastern Tennessee counties.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services secured the grants to run public awareness campaigns and community-based prevention and enforcement efforts over the next five years.

Commissioner Doug Varney said the goal is to reduce prescription drug abuse among 12- to 25-year-olds by at least 4 percent.

The program targets Anderson, Blount, Hamilton, Jackson, Johnson, Knox, Putnam, Smith, Sullivan and Washington counties.

These counties represent 41% of Tennessee's population.

The program will make heavy use of a social media campaign to try to change behavior and promote alternatives.

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