The Swanton Area Community Coalition has been approved for $125,000 in federal funding.
Nearly 700 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants, totaling $86 million, were recently announced. The grants will provide local community coalitions funding to prevent youth substance use including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol.
Swanton Area Community Coalition, Inc. was one of the grant recipients and will receive $125,000 in DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.
“We know that evidence-based prevention efforts are the most effective way to reduce youth substance use and to support the roughly 90 percent of American youth who do not use drugs,” said Michael Botticelli, director 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.”
“Our goal is to make Swanton a safe and healthy environment for our youth,” said Andrea Smith, SACC executive director. “Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract drug use in our community, and we will use this funding to help youth in Swanton make healthy choices about substance use.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is responsible for the day-to-day management of the DFC Program.
“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.”
Prescription drug abuse prevention is one of the core measures of effectiveness for local DFC coalitions, and coalitions nationwide have led innovative opioid prevention initiatives.
One program in Texas, the Concho Valley C.A.R.E.S. Coalition’s “Mix it, Seal it, Trash it” campaign, informs adults about the proper procedure to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. They have placed two prescription collection units and conduct two prescription take back projects a year.
In Arkansas, the TEA Coalition has distributed over 700 medication lockboxes and encouraged residents to lock up their prescription medications to keep them out of the hands of young people.
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. 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.
Swanton Area Community Coalition will specifically work to address the reduction and prevention of substance abuse in Swanton while utilizing all sectors of the community. They will do this through the Parents on Board (P.O.B.), Students Encouraging Educated Decisions (S.E.E.D.), Treats for Training (TfT), and Drug Take Back Day programs, according to Smith.
The Drug-Free Communities 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, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 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.