Drug-Free Communities Support Program

Drug-Free Communities Program Updates

  • FY 2014 DFC grants have been announced. See details below.
  • DFC grantees are encouraged to reach out to local media to help build awareness and excitement in your community about your recent DFC grant award. We encourage you to use this press release template announcing your DFC grant. 
  • The DFC New Grantee Meeting will be in Washington, DC from December 8 -10, 2014.  All new grantees are required to send two people.  Click here for registration information.

FY 2014 DFC Grant Announcement  

In FY 2014 $84 million will fund 197 new Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grants, 463 continuation grants for coalitions already in a five-year cycle, 3 new DFC Mentoring grants, and 17 continuation DFC Mentoring grants. These grants provide community coalitions needed support to prevent and reduce youth substance use.

Program Overview 

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use.  Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC Program has funded more than 2,000 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country. The philosophy behind the DFC Program is that local drug problems require local solutions.  With a small Federal investment, the DFC Program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC Program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use.  Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower.  Over the life of the DFC Program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use. 

New! Downloadable DFC Infographic

To support the communication needs of community coalitions we have created a downloadable DFC infographic. The infographic describes the DFC Program, why it matters, and how coalitions come together to prevent youth drug and alcohol use in their communities. Just click on this link to download. For maximum impact the infographic should be printed on legal size (8 ½ x 14) paper.

Downloadable DFC Infographic
Click here to download

Purpose of the DFC Program

The primary purpose of the DFC program is to:

  1. Establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies; as well as federal, state, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth.

  2. Reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

DFC grantees are required to work toward these two goals as the primary focus of their Federally-funded effort.  Grants awarded through the DFC Program are intended to support established community-based coalitions capable of effecting community-level change. For the purposes of the DFC Program, a coalition is defined as a community-based formal arrangement for cooperation and collaboration among groups or sectors of a community in which each group retains its identity, but all agree to work together toward a common goal of building a safe, healthy, and drug-free community. Coalitions receiving DFC funds are expected to work with leaders within their communities to identify and address local youth substance use problems and create sustainable community-level change through environmental strategies.

Recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate increases in youth prescription drug abuse, as well as marijuana, ecstasy, and methamphetamine use.  Now, more than ever, the DFC Program is needed in communities across the country to help prevent drug use and reduce its consequences.  Drug problems manifest in local communities and show up in our schools, churches, health centers, and in our homes.  The DFC Program helps local leaders organize to identify the youth drug issues unique to their communities and develop the infrastructures necessary to effectively prevent and respond to the disease of addiction. 

The Drug Free Communities Act of 1997 and the Formation of the DFC Program

Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) receives funding for the DFC Program from Congress through the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-20) to provide support to community-based coalitions that have formed to address local youth substance use and its related consequences.  The DFC Program was reauthorized through ONDCP’s Reauthorization Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-469).  The latest reauthorization extends the program until 2012.  Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded more than 2,000 DFC grants. Grants have been awarded to communities from every region in the nation and include rural, urban, suburban, and tribal communities.

The DFC Program is overseen by ONDCP, with day-to-day management conducted by Project Officers (Center for Substance Abuse Prevention/CSAP) and Grants Management Specialists (Division of Grants Management/DGM) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant Cycle

The DFC Program operates on a yearly grant cycle that starts with a Request for Applications (RFA) being posted in January of each year.  The RFA, when open, is posted on Grants.gov and SAMSHA.gov and this website.  Community coalitions meeting all of the statutory eligibility requirements can apply during the open period for funding.  DFC grants are awarded for five years with a maximum of 10 years.  Coalitions can ask for up to $125,000 per year and must provide at least a one-to-one match (cash, in-kind, donations, but no Federal funds) each year, with increases in Years 8-10.

What DFC Funds

The DFC Program funds one thing: community coalitions that have formed to address youth substance use.  Communities often understand that local stakeholders and citizens hold the key to solving local problems.  In realizing this, community-based coalitions are created every day in this country.  A typical DFC budget submission includes the salary and benefits of an individual that ensures effective day-to-day operations of the coalition, training and technical assistance for the coalition, travel, and prevention efforts that place emphasis on environmental strategies .  DFC funding can be considered the financial support required to further leverage funding to support the various strategies a community needs in order to solves its youth substance use problems.

The DFC Support Program does not fund the following (not a fully exhaustive list):

  • After-school programs
  • Youth mentoring programs
  • Sports programs
  • Treatment services/programs/facilities
  • Drug Courts
  • Construction
  • Landscaping/Neighborhood Revitalization Projects 

Current DFC Grantees

Each year, ONDCP funds four types of DFC grants: New, Continuation,Mentoring, and Mentoring Continuation. New grants represent those openly competing for their first or sixth years of DFC funding, while Continuation grants represent "in-cycle" grants in years 2-5 or 7-10 of DFC funding. DFC Mentoring grants are the first of a two-year grant awarded to existing DFC grantees to support their work to create new DFC coalitions. DFC Continuation Mentoring grants represent the second year of the two-year award.

DFC National Evaluation

In the past eight years that DFC has been evaluated, DFC-funded communities have achieved significant reductions in youth alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.  For middle school youth living in DFC-funded communities, data from the DFC National Evaluation indicate a 20% reduction in alcohol use, 26% reduction in tobacco use, and 23% reduction in marijuana use.  High school-aged youth have reduced their use of alcohol by 10%, tobacco by 17%, and marijuana by 4% in DFC-funded communities.  DFC-funded coalitions are actively engaged in facilitating prescription drug take-back programs in conjunction with local law enforcement, as well as local policy change to effectively address the accessibility and available of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. 

2012 DFC National Evaluation Interim Report

2012 DFC National Evaluation Summary

Community-based coalitions that meet all of the statutory eligibility requirements can respond to the annual Request for Applications (RFA).  The DFC RFA is usually released to the public in mid-January, with applications due in mid-March.  DFC grantees are chosen using a peer review process comprised of current and former DFC grantees. 

For additional information, contact ONDCP's DFC staff.