PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
411 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

12/5/2023
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # 120523
Subject:
Long Beach Health Department Awarded Grant to Expand Drug-impaired Driving Prevention Program
Contact:
Jennifer Rice Epstein
562.441.3590
Jennifer.RiceEpstein@longbeach.gov
Public Affairs Officer
Department of Health and Human Services




Long Beach, CA – The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department) has been awarded a $285,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to educate the community about responsible cannabis use and reduce drug-impaired driving related collisions.

“This grant fuels the City’s ongoing effort to keep everyone on our roadways safe,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “It’s important that people get informed. This means, the public should know that driving under the influence includes cannabis, illegal substances and even some medications.”

The Health Department’s GreenlightLB Program will use grant funds to support activities focused on educating community members about the dangers of driving while impaired by drugs and promote safer choices, including safe driving behaviors. Funds received will support several activities between Oct. 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2024, including:

  • DUI-Drug prevention workshops for high school and college age students to address the risks of driving while impaired and promote the use of transportation alternatives.
  • Community partnerships to advance health equity through bilingual and bicultural workshops on drug-impaired traffic safety.
  • E-scooter/E-Bike campaign to remind users that riding under the influence is both unsafe and against the law.
  • Peer-to-peer youth program to empower youth to actively promote traffic safety.
  • Collaboration with dispensaries to educate consumers about safe and responsible cannabis use and the risks of cannabis-impaired driving.
  • Enhanced drug-impaired driving awareness through print and digital media resources and coordination of Long Beach Safe Streets Awareness Week.
  • Pop-up events that promote the importance of safe and responsible driving.

“Our top priority is the safety of our community,” said Acting Health Department Director Alison King. “The efforts funded by OTS allow for evidence-based programs to increase awareness and help everyone make informed decisions and eliminate drug-impaired driving in Long Beach.”

Last year, the program reached 2,000 community members via:

  • 35 drug-impaired driving community presentations and youth-focused workshops.
  • 16 educational outreach tables and pop-ups to promote safer driving.
  • The graduation of 14 students from across five Long Beach schools for the Safe Streets Ambassador program.
  • Co-hosting the fourth annual Long Beach Safe Streets Awareness week.
  • Conducting the annual city-wide cannabis and health assessment.

“Getting in a vehicle remains one of the most dangerous things we do,” said California Office of Traffic Safety Director Barbara Rooney. “We must continue to work with our partners to shift that realization and make traveling on our roads safer.”

This is the seventh year the Health Department has received an OTS grant to continue its drug-impaired driving prevention efforts. The activities funded by this grant are in line with the Health Department’s Strategic Plan goals: to further develop a comprehensive approach to encourage responsible cannabis use and increase awareness about how mind-altering drugs, including those prescribed for medical purposes, can impair drivers; and partner with non-profit organizations that have expertise in reaching the Cambodian community with services and information. GreenlightLB’s program activities also help to advance goals identified in the City’s Safe Streets Action Plan to eliminate traffic-related deaths and serious injuries by 2026.