• Watch: Webinar on the DEA’s Final Rule on Disposal of Control Substances

    On November 6, the Office of National Drug Control Policy joined the Drug Enforcement Administration to host a webinar for community agencies looking to implement drug disposal programs. The safe, environmentally sound disposal of prescription drugs is one of the four pillars outlined in the 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan to reduce prescription drug misuse, and is critical to curbing the national opioid epidemic. Officials and disposal experts from Alameda County, California also joined to discuss how ordinances might define and fund programs at the county level. 

    Watch the video: 

  • Guest Post: Sheri Jones on Youth Prevention

    I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, a place where historical  roots run deep. A stroll through town was like walking through a   history book. With every step I took, I thought about the days when great leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Congressman John Lewis marched on these same sidewalks for justice and freedom.

    And yet, at the same time, this city that once experienced so much progress seemed to be regressing. Montgomery’s homicide rates were increasing, teenage parties were saturated by alcohol, and marijuana use was rampant in our teenage population.

    It seemed that the pages of the history book I lived in were crumbling. New problems were emerging, and I felt helpless. I wanted to be an agent of change like the great historical giants who marched before me, but I had no idea how to begin.

    All of that changed during the summer of 2011, when I had the privilege of attending National Youth Leadership Initiative (NYLI), a Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) substance abuse prevention training program that teaches teens like me how to take action to reduce drug use in their communities. The program did more than equip me with the tools to become an agent of change. It ignited something inside me. As Mark Twain said, the two most important days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we find out why. It seemed that ever since that first important day, I had struggled to figure out the “why” of my life. That summer in NYLI, after realizing I could make a difference in my home town, I experienced the second most important part of my life – my purpose.

    As a young person new to the anti-drug movement, I learned that substance use prevention is not about seeing immediate change. It is about creating lasting change within our communities over time. I also learned that progress occurs only when courageous, skillful leaders seize opportunities and work for change. My NYLI experience gave me confidence to step out as never before – to speak without fear before my city council, county commissioners, and community leaders about how they could be part of a movement not only to get our community back to where it once had been, but to push it forward even further. Working with other young people from my coalition, I hosted events and youth forums to seek ways to tackle the problems that plagued our communities. With our shared vision and productive collaboration, we were able to bind the pages of history back together and begin a new chapter of change.

    Now, as a sophomore at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, I contribute to the betterment of the community by working with the Nashville Prevention Partnership, a local substance use prevention coalition, to address underage drinking. The experience has shown me that anyone, even young people like myself, can help restore shattered communities and build structures of effective and lasting change.


    Sheri Jones is a trainer with the National Youth Leadership Initiative, a program of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). 

  • In Juvenile Justice, Community Involvement is Key to Substance Abuse Prevention

    Local artists in Snohomish County, Washington, are contributing their time, tools, and studio space to mentor teens recently involved in their community’s juvenile justice system. For eight weeks, the youth will learn art and photography skills, then produce artwork documenting their lives, families, and communities. Some of their efforts will be featured in local art venues or the local newspaper.

    The teens are participants in Promising Arts in Recovery (PAIR), part of Snohomish County’s local Reclaiming Futures program. The goal of PAIR is to establish social and job skills by connecting local artists with at-risk teens who are involved in the juvenile justice system and may be undergoing treatment for substance use or mental health issues. Through programs like PAIR that offer workshops, internships, or job-shadowing opportunities, local professionals are not only helping these young people develop skills necessary to be active citizens, they are helping to rebuild a community around prevention.

    In recognition of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, we reflect on the critical need for community involvement programs that create sustainable, long-term solutions to help prevent American teens from using drugs and alcohol. At Reclaiming Futures, a national model applied in 18 states to improve juvenile justice systems, we believe that community involvement helps create a culture of prevention.

    The mission of Reclaiming Futures is to help teens trapped in the cycle of drugs, alcohol, and crime by improving access to resources through collaboration among court services, treatment service providers, educators, families, and communities. We focus on getting teens more treatment and better treatment. But equally important is connecting them with activities beyond treatment that, like PAIR, establish behaviors to help them stay drug- and crime-free. It is this beyond treatment element that has the potential to propel a new community identity around prevention. These programs help to build a network of caring individuals invested in teens’ success. Once established, the programs have the ability to reach young people early to counter peer pressure and adverse childhood experiences that may lead to substance use.

    Devoting resources to community-rooted solutions and conversation about prevention can help America’s youth connect with support systems that will aid in the success of their futures.

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) is also championing community-rooted solutions through its Drug-Free Communities Support Program, which enables local community coalitions across the country establish and strengthen collaboration with public and private agencies to amplify youth substance abuse prevention efforts.

    Susan Richardson is national executive director for Reclaiming Futures. Formerly, she was a senior program officer in the health care division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in North Carolina, where she led a three-year effort involving the state’s juvenile justice and treatment leaders to adopt the Reclaiming Futures model by juvenile courts in six North Carolina counties. 

  • 2014 Drug-Free Communities Grant Awards Announced

    The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has announced that Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants totaling $84 million will be awarded in 2014 to 680 community coalitions across the country. ONDCP Acting Director Michael Botticelli announced the grants on October 8 – during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month – at a Town Hall Meeting on substance use in Bangor, Maine. Among the 680 funded DFC coalitions in 2014 are 197 new grantees.

    680 Drug-Free Communities Program Grantees for Fiscal Year 2014At the heart of the DFC program is the philosophy that local problems require local solutions. DFC grantees involve a cross-section of the communities they serve, with active participation from youth, parents, schools, businesses, media, local government, law enforcement, and other local agencies. The DFC Program is the only Federal drug prevention program that provides funding directly to local communities.

    Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded more than 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. Long-term analyses have shown that past-month use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana declined significantly from 2002 to 2012 among middle school and high school students in DFC communities.

    Click here to learn more about the Drug-Free Communities Support Program.

    For more information about National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, click here

  • Why Academic Success Means More than Getting into College

    Today marks the beginning of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). This national observance calls attention to the essential role substance use prevention plays in promoting safe and healthy communities.

    The theme for this year’s observance is Prevent. Achieve. Succeed. We know that substance use can stand in the way of academic achievement and success. In addition, poor grades and disinterest in school increase the chances that a teen will use harmful substances. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), youth ages 12 to 17 who have a “D” or lower grade average are two-to-three times more likely to use illicit drugs and cigarettes, compared to their peers who have a grade average better than “D.” [1]

    On the other hand, there are many benefits of strong academic performance, including knowledge gained in class, competitive advantage for getting into college, and better job opportunities in the future. Youth who do well academically and have a sense of belonging in school are less likely to use substances.

    In honor of National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, we urge you to do something to encourage a young person’s positive growth and development, directly or indirectly. For example, you might decide to hold a potluck with neighbors to share resources on how to talk with children about alcohol use and discuss how to support each other in doing so. Or, you may focus on building your family’s resilience by spending time with your kids, listening to them, and encouraging their interest in constructive activities and hobbies. (Start early—see SAMHSA’s Building Blocks for a Healthy Future for resources and materials to help children ages 3-6 make decisions, gain confidence, and improve self-esteem.)

    You can also start thinking ahead to SAMHSA's National Prevention Week—May 17-23, 2015—a time when people across the country come together to make a positive difference in the health and well-being of their community.

    No matter how you choose to take part, know that you’re contributing to a positive, nationwide effort—an effort that will continue after October 31st. Prevention efforts never end, and with good reason. With each generation comes the collective responsibility to keep young people out of harm’s way; to educate them about healthy choices; and to build their decision-making skills so that when they come to a fork in the road, they choose the path to a healthy, happy, and successful life.

    [1] SAMHSA, 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Detailed Tables, Table 3.25B (September 2014).

    David Mineta is the Deputy Director for Demand Reduction, Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    Frances M. Harding is the Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. 


  • Register for National Substance Abuse Prevention Month Twitter Chat

    You're invited to participate in the National Substance Abuse Prevention Month Twitter chat on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. ET to discuss substance abuse prevention among youth.

    Please join David Mineta, the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Deputy Director of Demand Reduction, Ritankar Das, Chair of the Science & Engineering Festival (USASEF) Youth Advisory Board; Jack Andraka USASEF Youth Advisory Board Member, and young leaders from the National Youth Leadership Institute.

    Far too many young people with bright futures are limited by drug use. By addressing this issue, we can educate our youth and prepare them to face the world’s challenges. By participating in the chat, you will learn useful tips on how to incorporate primary prevention into your community and the nexus between substance use and academic achievement. 

    We look forward to hearing your questions and ideas about how we can make sure our kids are drug-free, ready to learn, and achieving academically.

    Here are three simple steps you can take to join in:

    1. Tweet your questions and replies using the hashtag #PrevMonth on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.
    2. Register for the Twitter chat on whitehouse.gov
    3. Follow @ONDCP for updates.

  • Recovery at the White House: Celebrating 25 Years

    Yesterday, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) hosted an event in honor of National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month, called “Recovery at the White House: Celebrating 25 years.”  Television journalist and recovery advocate Laurie Dhue moderated a panel of other recovery advocates who shared their personal stories about addiction, and participated in a discussion about their journeys to recovery.  

    The panel consisted of Cris Carter, a former NFL football player and current ESPN announcer in recovery; Christina Huffington, a young person in recovery; Ruben Castaneda, a Washington Post reporter and author of the book that chronicles his own journey to recovery, S Street Rising; and Tim Wilson, mayor of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.  The panelists’ personal stories emphasized the fact that addiction is a disease—not a product of personal failings—and their accomplishments demonstrate the power of recovery in living a successful life.

    “We are not bad people trying to get good—we are sick people trying to get well,” said moderator Laurie Dhue, opening the panel.  “We’re not in a basement somewhere.  We’re at the White House talking about addiction and recovery.”  Laurie’s poignant words served as a reminder of the power of candor and community, and bolstered the message that no one has to be alone when it comes to substance use disorders.

    Three women from N Street Village, a community of empowerment and recovery for women, and Theatre Lab D.C. shared an inspirational performance about recovery.  “Not addicted to drugs—but addicted to life,” an evocative line during the trio’s amalgam of song and spoken-word poetry, highlighted the self-restoration that accompanies recovery.

    Recovery Month, now in its 25th year, celebrates prevention, treatment, and of course recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.   Recovery Month underscores the importance of mental health and addiction treatment services in promoting lives free of substance use disorders.  Through Recovery Month events, the Administration spreads the positive message that people can and do recover—recognizing the accomplishments of the millions of Americans currently in recovery, and encouraging those suffering with addiction to seek the treatment necessary for improving their own lives.

    For more information on National Drug and Alcohol Addiction Recovery Month, visit recoverymonth.gov or check out the Americans in Recovery Facebook page. You can watch archived video of the event here and see a Storify from the entire day

  • Announcing New Rules for Prescription Drug Disposal

    Today, we joined the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to announce new regulations that create convenient, legal avenues for safe, environmentally-friendly disposal of unneeded prescription drugs. Now, thanks to these regulations, neighborhood pharmacies and others will be able to set up disposal locations as well as administer mail-back programs. In August, President Obama also announced his newest Executive Action, which contains language providing that the United States Department of Defense (DOD) will direct its police force to carry naloxone, the life-saving overdose reversal drug.

    These two actions mark a huge step forward in the Obama Administration’s work to curb the opioid epidemic, which claims more lives each year in America than motor vehicle crashes.

    We know that about 70% of people who misuse prescription drugs get them for free from friends and family. Because of this, one of the four pillars of the Obama Administration’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan is the safe storage and disposal of unused controlled substances. The regulations we’re announcing today will enable patients and families as well as long term care facilities to more easily dispose of unused prescription drugs properly, keeping both people and the environment safe from harm.

    Today’s announcement is cause for celebration and renewed hope as we keep working to make communities safer and to prevent future overdose deaths. Read the new regulations on the Federal Register website and learn more about today’s announcement.

    See the DEA's fact sheet. 

  • 2013 National Report on Drug Use and Health

    Yesterday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released an overview of the findings of the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The short report released yesterday showed that in 2013 illicit drug use in America was stable over the previous year:

    • Among young adults (18 to 25) there was no change in either past month use of any illicit or marijuana; this pattern is unchanged since 2008.  However, there was a decline in past month use of pain relievers from 2012; from 3.8% to 3.3%.
    • Among older adults (26+), while there was no change in past month use of any illicit or marijuana from 2012, both are up significantly from 2011 (6.3% to 7.3% and 4.8% to 5.6%, respectively).
    • In 2013, 1.4 percent of adolescents had a co-occurring major depressive episode and substance use disorder (SUD); 3.2 percent of adults had co-occurring "any mental illness" and SUD; and 1.0 percent of adults had a co-occurring serious mental illness and SUD.
    • In 2013, 24.6 million people aged 12 or older (9.4%) were current illicit drug users, including 2.2 million adolescents aged 12 to 17. While current marijuana use among this population was unchanged from 2012, it has been increasing in recent years, rising from 5.8 percent in 2007 to 7.5 percent in 2013. 
    • Past month use of any illicit drug among adolescents declined significantly from 2012 to 2013 (9.5% to 8.8%); this appears to be driven by declines in prescription drug use: pain relievers from 2.2% to 1.7% and tranquilizers from 0.6% to 0.4%.  While marijuana use among adolescents was unchanged from 2012, it is down significantly from 2011 (7.9% vs. 7.1%)—in the opposite direction of the trend for the population overall.
    • 60.1 million people aged 12 or older were past month binge drinkers, including 1.6 million adolescents (ages 12 -17).
    • Of the estimated 22.7 million people aged 12 or older in 2013 who needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem, 2.5 million persons received treatment at a specialty facility.

    Over the past three decades, the rate of drug use in America has declined by approximately 30%. 

    Download the short report here. The full survey results will be released later this month by SAMHSA.  


  • Join Us on September 17 for Recovery Month at the White House

    In honor of the 25th Anniversary of National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will host a celebratory event at the White House called “Recovery Month at the White House: Celebrating 25 Years.” The event, which will be streamed live on September 17, will feature a panel of recovery advocates who will share their inspirational personal stories and participate in a discussion.  Viewers will be able to tweet questions for the panelists at @Botticelli44 using the hashtag #RecoveryatWH at any time prior to or during the event.

    The panel discussion will be moderated by Laurie Dhue, a television journalist and recovery advocate. She will be joined on the panel by:

    • Christina Huffington, a young person in recovery;
    • Cris Carter, a former NFL football player and current ESPN analyst in recovery;
    • Ruben Castaneda, a veteran Washington Post reporter who recently wrote about his path to recovery in his book, S Street Rising;
    • Tim Willson, the mayor of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

    The Recovery Month at the White House event will help raise awareness of substance use disorders and recovery, highlight Administration priorities and accomplishments in this area, educate the public and policymakers, and help dispel stigma by promoting the understanding that addiction is a disease and not the result of a personal or family failing.  The webcast will also serve to inspire and mobilize the millions of Americans in recovery while holding out hope to millions of people across the country currently struggling with addiction to alcohol or other drugs.

    We urge you to take the opportunity to watch, participate via Twitter, and post to other social media sites about the event. And if you’re planning to host a viewing party, we’d love to hear about it.  Register your viewing party here.

    Please share with your friends, loved ones, and colleagues that “Recovery Month at the White House: Celebrating 25 Years” will be webcast live from 2-4 p.m. EST, September 17. Tune in and spread the word!

    We hope you will join us for this special event. Until then, check our Americans in Recovery Facebook page, @ONDCP and Acting Director Botticelli’s Twitter account for updates.