Washington, D.C. — Tuesday, October 28, 2013 — Gil Kerlikowske, former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced $19.8 million in new Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants to 147 communities and 19 new DFC Mentoring grants across the country. The awards announced recently are in addition to the $59.4 million in continuation grants simultaneously released to 473 currently funded DFC coalitions and four DFC Mentoring continuation coalitions. The Zebra Coalition in Orlando, Fla. was one of the grant recipients and will receive $625,000 in DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.
The DFC Program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate citizen participation in local drug prevention efforts. Coalitions are composed of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, healthcare and business professionals, law enforcement, the media, and others working together at the local level.
“President Obama believes in the pursuit of an America built to last – a Nation with an educated, skilled workforce that has the knowledge, energy, and expertise to succeed in a highly competitive global marketplace,” said Kerlikowske. “For too many young people, this future is clouded by drug use, which inhibits their ability to remain healthy and safe and to achieve their full potential. We congratulate this coalition on its work to raise a generation of young people equipped to remain drug free and ready to meet the challenges and successfully compete in the 21st century.”
“We are not powerless against the challenge of drug use among young people here in Orlando,” said Dexter Foxworth, director of the Zebra Coalition. “Research shows that prevention is the most effective tool we have to reduce the terrible consequences associated with drug use among young people. This new funding will allow the Zebra Coalition to help place more young people on the path toward success and enable them to live healthier and safer lives.”
“The key to preventing substance abuse is harnessing the talents, resources, and interests of all segments of our local communities,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “America’s families, schools, places of worship, healthcare providers, community centers, and other civic organizations all play an essential role in helping our youth avoid illicit substance use. SAMHSA’s partnership with the Office of National Drug Control Policy in supporting community coalitions has proven effective in uniting communities to develop effective approaches for fostering drug-free environments for young people across our Nation.”
The Zebra Coalition will specifically work to address perceptions of the harm of alcohol, prescription drugs and marijuana use among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all youth (LGBT+) and reduce community norms favoring drug use. This will be accomplished through a strategic education and public awareness plan.
The DFC Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997 and reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded nearly 2,000 DFC 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.
For more information about the Office of National Drug Control Policy or the Drug Free Communities Support Program, visit:http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/ONDCP