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The White House
For Immediate Release

White House Drug Policy Office Awards More Than $88 Million to Local Communities to Prevent Youth Substance Use

(Washington, D.C.) – Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), today announced $12.3 million in new Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) grants to 87 communities and 20 new DFC Mentoring grants across the country. The awards announced today are in addition to the nearly $76 million in Continuation grants simultaneously released to 607 currently funded DFC coalitions and twelve DFC Mentoring Continuation coalitions. These grants provide community coalitions needed support to prevent and reduce youth substance use.

“The most powerful tool we have to address our Nation’s drug problem is preventing it before it even begins,” said Director Kerlikowske. “Research shows that every dollar invested in drug education and prevention programs saves up to ten dollars in costs related to treatment for substance use. President Obama understands how the hard work of local community leaders, youth, parents, educators, healthcare professionals, faith-based leaders, law enforcement officials, and others can strengthen communities and save kids’ lives.”

“The Drug-Free Communities Support Program is one of the key elements in our nation’s efforts to prevent and reduce substance abuse,” said Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “It is effective in large part because it focuses on community-based approaches to promoting safe and healthy environments where families can raise children free from the dangers and destruction of substance abuse.”

The 2011 competition showed a dramatic increase in coalitions serving urban areas (74% of new competing awards) and the program reflects a near balance in urban/rural grants with 43% of total grants serving urban populations and 47% serving rural. For 2011, 56 grants report serving Native American/American Indian populations, representing eight percent of the total DFC awards.

The Drug Free Communities program is directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 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 prevention efforts, including prescription drug diversion and prevention initiatives, as well as underage drinking prevention programs. Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and the media. Data show that communities receiving DFC funding have seen significant reductions in past 30-day use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana among middle and high school students.

The 87 new grantees were selected from 452 applicants through a competitive, peer-reviewed process. To qualify for these matching grants, all awardees must have at least a six-month history of working together on youth substance use reduction initiatives, have representation from 12 required sectors of the community, develop a long-term plan to reduce youth substance use, and participate in the National Evaluation of the DFC program.

The DFC program was created by the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997, and was reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded nearly 2,000 Drug Free Communities grants to local communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Palau, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Overall drug use in the United States has dropped substantially over the past thirty years. To build on this progress and support a public health approach to drug control outlined in the Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion drug prevention programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for addicts.