Funding includes support for community-led and evidence-based efforts to reduce youth substance use

Washington, D.C.—Today, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced an award of more than $3.2 million to 65 communities nationwide for its Community-Based Coalition Enhancement Grants to Address Local Drug Crisis (CARA) Program. The funding will enhance the efforts of current or former Drug-Free Communities (DFC) program recipients to prevent opioid, methamphetamine, and prescription drug use among youth ages 12-18 across the United States.

The CARA grant program is a partnership between ONDCP and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It aims to reduce youth substance use by providing funding to local coalitions to help them apply evidence-based prevention strategies to the emerging challenges in their communities.

“We know that delaying substance use until after adolescence decreases the likelihood of a person developing a substance use disorder,” said Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Regina LaBelle. “It is also important that we consider social determinants of health such as poverty, homelessness, and other conditions as we build effective prevention strategies. This funding will help support the Biden-Harris Administration’s mission to expand evidence-based prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services by providing our local partners with the resources they need to reduce youth substance use.”

“The funding for the CARA awards, and the Drug-Free Communities coalitions ensures critical work will continue on the frontlines, preventing youth substance use in their communities,” said Deb Houry, M.D., M.P.H., director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “Supporting evidence-based youth substance use prevention has never been more important, and CDC is proud of our partnership with ONDCP on this critical program — continuing to build local capacity, enhancing community-based prevention programs, and saving lives.”

Supporting evidence-based prevention efforts to reduce youth substance use is one of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Drug Policy Priorities for Year One, which also include:

  • expanding access to evidence-based treatment;
  • advancing racial equity in our approach to drug policy;
  • enhancing evidence-based harm reduction efforts;
  • reducing the supply of illicit substances;
  • advancing recovery-ready workplaces and expanding the addiction workforce; and
  • expanding access to recovery support services.


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