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“This grant will help alleviate the drug epidemic in our county,” said County Administrator Nate Ehalt.

The Drug Free Community Grant was awarded to the county recently. The county did have the grant funds years ago but the grant expired and now thanks to the Burnett County Prevention Coalition and the Burnett County Law Enforcement Citizen’s Auxiliary it is back.

Members of the County Board thanked Auxiliary members Charlie and Lisa Slater for their involvement and help in bringing the grant back to Burnett County.

The grant is for five years and will bring $600,000 to spend on prevention programming.

“There are three focuses for drug-free community. There’s prevention, law enforcement and rehabilitation,” Charlie Slater told the County Board. “Our law enforcement is doing a great job, especially with the K-9 program. Rehabilitation is a much larger conversation. So we’re focusing on prevention.”

Charlie explained that he and Lisa have two grandchildren that will be growing up and going to school in Burnett County and keeping drugs off the streets is a priority.

The Slaters were instrumental in getting the K-9 Tracker for the sheriff’s office and were also very helpful in funding for the second K-9 that was fully funded a few weeks ago.

The grant will primarily be used to stop alcohol and nicotine use with young kids.

“Alcohol and nicotine are seen as a gateway to other substances,” Charlie said.

The grant is funded by SAMHSA or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Lisa said SAMHSA has been very helpful so far. The grant was recently approved and they are still putting their team together.

Ehalt said they are in the process of hiring a coordinator to lead the team for the grant.

Charlie said they should have the team in place by late March or early April.

“We will be back in May for a presentation to the whole board,” Charlie said.