CLINTON—Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner visited the Anderson County Health Department on Friday to present $64,600 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program.
Dreyzehner was in East Tennessee last week to present tobacco settlement checks to the Roane County Health Department ($38,860) and the Loudon County Health Department ($38,103) as well as the check to Anderson County.
Each county in Tennessee will receive funding annually during the three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state.
Locally, the Anderson County Health Department is using the funds to support a new “Baby and Me—Tobacco Free” program as well as a partnership with Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County and the Coordinated School Health programs in each of the three school systems in Anderson County.
“This is the first time we’ve had funds from the tobacco settlement go directly to address tobacco use,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “Gov. Bill Haslam and Commissioner Dreyzehner made a great decision, and I believe we are going to see results.”
After presenting Anderson County’s funds, Dreyzehner spent an hour at the Health Department talking with Frank, Health Department Director Art Miller, Stephanie Strutner and her team at ASAP, Health Department Regional Office Director Janet Ridley, Tennessee Rep. John Ragan, and a team of nurses and staff at the Health Department. Topics they discussed ranged from prescription drug abuse to walking trails.
“Dr. Dreyzehner is not only extremely well versed on the topics he addressed, but he is very passionate about how to address our health challenges,” Frank said. “Everyone at the meeting seemed genuinely excited to be able to work with him on his goals for a healthier community.”
“We’re very excited to be able to partner with ASAP and the Coordinated School Health programs to address youth tobacco use prevention,” Miller said.
ASAP of Anderson County is using funds in part to support its Youth Coalition’s “I Choose Not to Use” prevention message that’s targeted toward teens in local schools.
“ASAP is thrilled to be able to utilize the tobacco master settlement funds to empower ASAP Youth Coalition members to enhance leadership and to engage student leaders in peer-led prevention initiatives,” said Stephanie Strutner, ASAP executive director. “By utilizing community data in a positive social norms campaign, youth coalition members have the power to influence their peers to make healthy choices and remain tobacco-free.”