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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: March 31, 2015


NEW CASTLE (March 31, 2015) - The AmeriCorps Program, part of the State Office of Volunteerism within the Department of Health and Social Services, is seeking applications for 10 new members to serve as substance abuse prevention specialists in New Castle County beginning immediately.

These AmeriCorps members will serve at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware throughout New Castle County to educate young people age 12 to 20 about the need for substance abuse prevention.

Members will be trained to teach the "Smart Moves, Smart Choices" curriculum and serve as resource capacity builders, role models, frontline workers, and coordinators who support community-designed and community-led, sustainable substance abuse prevention activities.

This project will respond to the epidemic of substance abuse in Delaware by deploying AmeriCorps members as a resource in providing substance abuse prevention programming to youth and young adults in the city of Wilmington and New Castle County.

"Prevention is one of the important keys to reducing the toll that addiction is taking in our state," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Working through the Boys and Girls Clubs in New Castle County, AmeriCorps members can help to expand educational opportunities for vulnerable young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs."

Individuals who are 21 or older, have a high school diploma (or are working toward one), and are looking to make a difference, are encouraged to apply. Applications are currently being accepted. Interviewing of applicants and enrollment of new AmeriCorps members will begin immediately. New AmeriCorps members will serve through Aug. 31, with the goal of extending the program for a second term commitment from Sept. 1, 2015-Aug. 31, 2016. For more information, contact: Marie Moriarty, Ministry of Caring at or 302-428-3702. Or by visiting, at

"To reduce the impact of addiction in our state and save lives, we are working in three important areas: treatment and recovery, criminal justice, and prevention and education," said Secretary Rita Landgraf of the Department of Health and Social Services, which includes the State Office of Volunteerism and the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. "We are reforming and expanding treatment and recovery services to meet the immediate needs of people suffering from addiction, but we know we will achieve our greatest success if we can educate and prevent substance use among our young people."

According to the Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware, 35 percent of 11th-graders in Delaware reported using alcohol at least once a month in 2013, with 62 percent saying they had used it in the past year and 71 percent saying they had used it in their lifetimes. Among eighth-graders, 14 percent reported at least monthly use of alcohol, with 31 percent saying they used it within the last year and 40 percent in their lifetimes. As for marijuana, 26% of Delaware 11th-graders and 9 percent of eighth-graders reported at least monthly use during 2013, according to the UD study. And 17 percent of 11th-graders and 10 percent of eighth-graders reporting using prescription drugs not prescribed for them during the past year.

AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), whose mission is to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering. An AmeriCorps member is an individual who is enrolled in an approved national service position and engages in intensive service to address pressing community problems. Members receive training, a living allowance and an education award upon successful completion of their service.

DHSS' Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) is the primary sponsor for this initiative. Project partners include the Office of Gov. Jack Markell, Wilmington Mayor Dennis P. Williams, the Department of Health and Social Services' Division of State Service Centers (DSSC), the Ministry of Caring, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Delaware.

To apply or to learn more about the AmeriCorps opportunity, at

To learn more about prevention, treatment and recovery information and services in Delaware, go to at

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.