Drug Czar To Visit Mary Mitchell Center in Crotona

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Gil Kerlikowske, the director for the White House Office of Drug Control Policy, will be visiting the Mary Mitchell Family and Youth Center on Monday to launch a nationwide anti-drug campaign.

Staff at the Mary Mitchell Center, at 2007 Mapes Ave., have been in touch with Kerlikowske's office since last November, when several drug-related shootings took place nearby-with one happening just beside the center's playground, where students from the after-school program were playing at the time. Later that same day, at nearby 2000 Prospect Ave., a burst of gunfire left 19-year-old Felix DelValle dead. Another teen, 17-year-old Phillip Carr, was arrested and charged with the murder.

Since then, the Mary Mitchell Center staff have stepped up their efforts to draw citywide and national attention to the issues of drug and youth violence that plague many low-income neighborhoods.

On Monday, Kerlikowske will take a tour of the center and then hold a press conference to announce the launch of the “Influence Project,” a nationwide anti-drug program that aims to engage teens in conversation about the pressures that influence their decisions.

Check back on Monday for our coverage of the event.