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“The evidence-based prevention work led by local DFC community coalitions is critically needed to reduce youth substance, particularly in the midst of the national prescription opioid and heroin epidemic,” said Director Botticelli. “To fully address the opioid crisis, however, Congress must act to provide funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it. The President has called for $1.1 billion in new funding for States to help expand access to treatment. Every day that passes without Congressional action to provide these additional resources is a missed opportunity to save lives.”
“Drug-Free Communities coalitions make a vital difference at the community level – reaching out to people where they live with the help they need to prevent substance use,” said SAMHSA Principal Deputy Administrator Kana Enomoto. “SAMHSA is honored to join the Office of National Drug Control Policy in working with community coalitions across the nation to create healthy and drug-free environments for children, youth, and families.”
DFC’s 2014 National Evaluation Report showed a significant decrease in past-30-day use of prescription drugs among youth in DFC communities. The report also found a significant decrease in past-30-day use between the first and most recent data reports for alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use among middle school and high school youth in DFC communities.
Prescription drug misuse prevention is one of the core measures of effectiveness for local DFC coalitions, and coalitions nationwide have led innovative opioid prevention initiatives.
Background on the Drug-Free Communities Support Program
The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.
The DFC Program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate youth and adult participation at the community level in local youth drug use prevention efforts.
According to data for 2014, an estimated 3,800 young people per day between the ages of 12 and 17 used drugs for the first time in the preceding year. 1 Additionally, high school seniors are more likely to be current smokers of marijuana than cigarettes and non-medical use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs remains unacceptably high. 2 Parents should also know that 17% of high school seniors in 2015 reported binge drinking (i.e., 5 or more drinks in a row) in the past two weeks. 3
Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of environmental strategies to address local drug problems. Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and media. By involving the community in a solution-oriented approach, DFC also helps those youth at risk for substance use recognize the majority of our Nation’s youth choose not to use drugs.
Additionally, DFC-funded communities have proven to be more effective in addressing these complex social issues and have demonstrated an increase in positive outcomes over communities that do not have DFC’s.
Background on the Administration’s National Drug Policy
The Administration’s drug policy is based on a balanced public health and public safety approach. This approach is built upon the latest scientific research demonstrating that addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that can be successfully prevented and treated, and from which one can recover. The Administration has directed Federal agencies to expand community-based efforts to prevent drug use before it begins, empower healthcare workers to intervene early at the first signs of a substance use disorder, expand access to treatment for those who need it, support the millions of Americans in recovery, and pursue “smart on crime” approaches to drug enforcement.
The President has made clear that addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic is a priority for his Administration and has called for $1.1 billion in new funding for States to help expand access to treatment. While Federal agencies have been using their authority to take every available action they can, Congress needs to take action on what is most urgently needed now – additional funding to make lifesaving treatment available to everyone who seeks it.
For more information about the Administration’s efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences, or to learn more about the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/Drug-Free-Communities-Support-Program