$86 Million Earmarked By White House To Prevent Youth Substance Abuse

By John Lavitt 09/18/15

Nearly 700 communities nationwide will receive grants.

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In early September, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced $86 million earmarked for 697 Drug-Free Communities Support Program grants. The grants will provide local community coalitions funding to prevent youth substance use. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program.

“We know that evidence-based prevention efforts are the most effective way to reduce youth substance use and to support the roughly 90% of American youth who do not use drugs,” said Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “By bringing together schools, businesses, law enforcement, parent groups, and other members of the community, DFC-funded community coalitions are helping to protect youth from the devastating consequences of non-medical prescription drug use, heroin and other substance use.”

The 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 noted increases in the perception of risk, perception of peer disapproval, and perception of parent disapproval in relation to non-medical prescription drug use. In addition, 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.

“Community coalitions continue to drive winning strategies at the local level to reduce the rate of substance misuse,” said SAMHSA Acting Administrator Kana Enomoto. “SAMHSA is pleased to join the Office of National Drug Control Policy in supporting communities that are bringing citizens together to create healthy and drug-free environments for our youth.”

Created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, the Drug-Free Communities Support Program is designed to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community. The goal is to employ a variety of environmental strategies to address local drug problems like demonstrating to those at risk for substance use that the the majority of the country’s youth choose not to use drugs.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.