The East Feliciana Parish Drug and Alcohol Awareness Council has been awarded a $625,000 grant over five years to support the group’s local efforts toward preventing substance abuse among youth, officials announced Tuesday.

The grant was awarded by the federal Drug Free Communities Support Program, which falls under the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The council, which is sponsored by District Attorney Sam D’Aquilla, plans to use the money to, among other things, develop public service announcements and install electronic billboards within the parish for media campaigns, according to a news release announcing the grant.

The council plans to install prescription drop boxes in various locations around the parish and will use grant funds to educate and train alcohol vendors, retail outlet owners and employees prior to implementing alcohol sale compliance checks.

Formed in 2010, the council was created to shed light to parents and teenagers on the dangers of drug and alcohol use.

The council has brought speakers to local schools and taken kids on field trips within the state Department of Corrections as well as established a mentor program for young men.

Until now, the council has operated solely on private donations and revenue generated from fundraising events, the news release states.