Three Utah State University researchers recently received a U.S. Department of Education grant to implement Project REACH, a comprehensive substance-abuse prevention program for high-risk youths. Ultimately, the effort is expected to decrease the incidence and prevalence of drug and alcohol use among Cache Valley youths.

Professors Richard P. West, K. Richard Young and Derek Mason will direct the $750,000, three-year project that extends their developmental work in the Achievement Plus Project for At-Risk Youth (Achievement Plus). Achievement Plus, in the Cache School District since 1988, has proved effective in improving school attendance, academic performance and use of social skills among middle and high school students who are at risk of dropping out of school.Drawing on various human-services agencies in Cache Valley, Proj-ect REACH will focus initially on middle-school students and their families who may be at risk for developing drug and alcohol problems, West said.

"We place heavy emphasis on improving parent-child relationships and parenting skills as well as helping youths succeed in school," West explained.

The prevention program is funded by the U.S.

Department of Education's Drug Free Schools and Communities Program. Cooperating agencies include Cache County School District, State Division of Substance Abuse, Utah State Office of Education, Cache County attorney's office, Region I Department of Social Services, and Cache Valley Attention/Detention Center.

For more information about the program, call Kevin Callahan, proj-ect coordinator, 750-3060.