• 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. 

  • Infographic: Overdose Prevention, State by State

    Sunday, August 31st is Overdose Awareness Day. In recognition of this day we would like to turn our attention to the faces behind the overdose statistics. 

    You have no doubt heard that in 2011 more Americans died every day from drug overdoses than from traffic crashes.  And that half of those overdoses involved opioids, a class of drugs that includes heroin and prescription painkillers. 

    We would like to take a moment to talk about the people behind these data.

    We greatly appreciate the willingness of parents to share their stories of loss with us. It goes without saying that family and friends who have lost a loved one due to overdose are heartbroken. And they are desperate to make sure no one else experiences what they have.

    We heard from Liz’s mom.  Liz was just 23 years old when her life was cut short due to an overdose.  Her mom told us proudly that Liz graduated 10th in her high school class.  She had a scholarship to college. And she was addicted to heroin. 

    We also heard from Joe’s mom.  Joe was 29 when he died.  She sent us a poem he wrote. The poem included the line, “No one told me getting high was such a low ride.” 

    And Judy told us about the loss of her son Steve.  Steve said of prescription painkillers, “At first they were a lifeline. Now they are a noose around my neck.

    These people are more than statistics. They are our sons, daughters, neighbors, family and friends. They are the reason we work every day to decrease prescription drug abuse, heroin use and overdose deaths.

    We are not without hope – and powerful tools to decrease overdose deaths.  While prevention and treatment remain key parts of our overall drug strategy, we are also working to expand the availability of naloxone. Naloxone, when administered quickly and properly, is a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose that might otherwise result in death. 

    An increasing number of states are passing legislation to increase access to naloxone and remove barriers that may keep a bystander (or “Good Samaritans”) from seeking emergency assistance for the overdose victim.  The infographic below shows states (and the District of Columbia) with laws allowing for the prescribing and administration of naloxone and/or criminal protections for bystanders who seek emergency assistance.

    As of July 15, 2014, 30 states and the District of Columbia enacted  legislation to decrease overdose deaths. The infographic provides an at-a-glance view of which states have passed and enacted these laws as of July 15:


    Download PDF

    If you found this graphic useful, please share it. We encourage you to learn more by downloading an overdose prevention toolkit developed by one of our federal partners. 




    Below is a summary of salient points in the infographic, with the corresponding colors.

    Red: Twenty states (AK, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IL, LA, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NM, NY, NC, RI, VT, WA, & WI) and the District of Columbia have statutes which prevent charge or prosecution for possession of a controlled substance and/or paraphernalia for persons who seek medical/emergency assistance for someone experiencing an opioid-induced overdose.  Additionally, in UT and IN, evidence of providing assistance to someone experiencing an opioid overdose can be presented as a mitigating factor at sentencing to a conviction for possession of a controlled substance and/or paraphernalia.  Utah allows evidence of providing assistance to someone experiencing an overdose to be used as an affirmative defense to an allegation of possession of a controlled substance and/or paraphernalia.

    Purple: Twenty-one states (CA, CO, CT, GA, IL, KY, ME, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, RI, TN, VT, VA, WA, & WI) and the District of Columbia have statutes which protect lay persons from criminal liability for administering naloxone to someone believed to be experiencing an opioid induced overdose.  In Virginia, this protection applies to persons who are participating in the provisional pilot program.  Two additional states (LA & MO) provide criminal liability protections to first responders.

    Blue: Eighteen states (CA, CO, CT, GA, KY, MN, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OK, OR, RI, TN, UT, VT, VA, & WI) and the District of Columbia have statutes which protect lay persons from civil liability for administering naloxone to someone believed to be experiencing an opioid induced overdose.  In Virginia, this protection applies only to persons participating in the provisional pilot program.  Two additional states (IN & LA) provide civil liability protections to first responders.

    Green: Fourteen states (CA, CO, CT, GA, MN, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, TN, UT, VT, & WI) have statutes which protect prescribers from criminal liability actions.

    Orange: Thirteen states (CA, CO, CT, GA, MN, NJ, NM, NC, OH, TN, UT, VT, & WI) have statutes which protect prescribers from civil liability actions.

    Yellow: Twenty-one states (CA, CO, DE, GA, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, OR, TN, UT, VT, VA, WA, & WI) have statutes which allow for “third-party” prescriptions of naloxone (i.e., the prescription can be written to a friend, relative, or person in a position to assist a person at risk of experiencing an opioid overdose).  Virginia allows third-party prescriptions only through a provisional pilot program. Three more states (IN, LA, & MO) allow prescriptions of naloxone to qualified first responders (e.g., law enforcement, EMTs, and firefighters). 

  • Securing the Border: A Strategy to Reduce Drug Trafficking Between the United States and Canada

    Today I traveled to the Bakken oil field region to announce the release of the 2014 National Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy (Strategy), which updates and expands upon the Obama Administration’s first Strategy released in 2012. Like the inaugural Strategy, this document sets forth the Administration’s plan to reduce the illegal trafficking of drugs across the U.S.-Canada border.

    There are inherent challenges in curtailing illicit drug trafficking across the Northern border. Among them are the vastness of the border itself, which extends more than 5 thousand miles, as well as the ever-evolving illegal drug production and trafficking trends that confront law enforcement officers. In fact, my visit earlier today was prompted by one such trend: the emergence of drug trafficking and related crime resulting from the development of the Bakken oil fields of northeastern Montana, northwestern North Dakota, and southern Saskatchewan. In recognition of this emerging threat, the 2014 Strategy includes a section dedicated to drug trafficking in the Bakken region and our efforts to address this threat.

    Despite the challenges that we face, we are confident that by building upon our strong history and shared commitment with our Canadian partners, we will succeed in reducing cross-border illegal drug trafficking. Through integrated cross-border law enforcement efforts, the United States and Canada will build upon existing relationships, programs, and policies; will seek further opportunities to pursue national security by disrupting transnational criminal organizations; and will improve information sharing, enabling more efficient and effective use of resources to curb the flow of illicit drugs and drug proceeds across the Northern border.

    The Strategy provides an overview of current counternarcotics efforts and identifies strategic objectives and specific actions that support the strategic goal to substantially reduce the flow of illicit drugs and drug proceeds along the Northern border. In updating and expanding upon the Administration’s first Strategy, the 2014 Strategy incorporates some significant changes and additions, such as the inclusion of sections addressing drug trafficking in the Bakken oil field region and the emerging threat posed by synthetic drugs; enhancements to the financial investigations section, including the addition of three new action items focusing on partnering with the private sector, targeting virtual currency and electronic payment devices, and targeting trade-based money laundering schemes; the addition of two new action items focused on eliminating public corruption; and significant enhancements to the section detailing our cooperative efforts with our Canadian counterparts.

    Michael Botticelli is the Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. 

  • ONDCP’s Acting Director Plays ‘Mayor Botticelli’ in Mock City Council Meeting

    A big surprise awaited the more than 40 teens attending the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA’s) Mid-Year Training Institute in Orlando, Florida, on July 23.  As they prepared for a training session – a Mock City Council Meeting – they were unaware that the “mayor” presiding over the meeting would be none other than Michael Botticelli, ONDCP’s Acting Director.

    Their participation in the event, part of CADCA’s National Youth Leadership Initiative, gave the teens an opportunity to better understand the inner workings of local policymaking. It also helped them learn first-hand the value of speaking out and having their voices heard on important issues. In this instance, the topic for Council consideration was an ordinance to ban the sale of medical marijuana within the local jurisdiction.

    Participating youth represented organizations on both sides of the issue, including the local school system, health care organizations, and the cannabis industry association. Their peers served as City Council representatives and reporters from a local TV station who were summoned to cover the heated debate.

    Throughout it all, “Mayor” Botticelli presided with a firm gavel and challenged the youth to support their points of view.  In the end, the Council agreed to support the medical marijuana ban, offering many of the facts and figures they learned at CADCA’s Institute. The teens were thrilled by Acting Director Botticelli’s commitment and participation. As for the Acting Director, interacting with the youth was a highlight of his trip to Orlando. “I was impressed by the knowledge, skill, and passion these young people brought to the event,” he said. “It’s clear to me why they are so valuable in the effort to prevent substance use in their communities.”

    Helen Hernandez is grants administrator for the Drug-Free Communities program.