As part of National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month, Biden-Harris Administration convenes youth leaders and federal partners who are working to prevent substance use in communities across America
Washington, D.C. – Today, in recognition of National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month, the White House hosted a bipartisan summit to bring together youth leaders, community-based coalitions, and federal partners to discuss efforts to expand evidence-based prevention and ensure local communities have the tools and resources they need to prevent youth substance use and save lives. President Biden declared October as National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month to recommit to providing families, educators, and communities with access to lifesaving resources so that we can ensure that young people have the tools they need to thrive.
At the Summit, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) welcomed U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel A. Cardona, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director for Program and Science Dr. Debra Houry to discuss the critical need to support youth substance use prevention efforts, including through the Drug-Free Community Coalitions program. The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, is the nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Directed by ONDCP in partnership with the CDC, the DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.
Under President Biden’s leadership, there are more community coalitions funded through the Drug-Free Communities program than ever before, with more than 750 coalitions working to implement evidence-based prevention efforts locally in all fifty states. Thanks to strong bipartisan support and funding, the Biden-Harris Administration invested nearly $94 million in the program last year. Since the DFC program’s inception, the past 30-day prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription drug misuse has declined significantly among middle school and high school aged youth.
With nearly all community-based coalitions working directly with school districts, Secretary Cardona highlighted the critical role that schools and faculty play in supporting local action and creating safe environments for young people. As a key partner in administering the program, Dr. Houry reiterated the CDC’s commitment to building local capacity to reduce youth substance use and foster positive change in communities. A longtime champion of the DFC program in Congress, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) underscored the need for continued bipartisan support in funding youth substance use prevention efforts.
Following remarks from federal partners, ONDCP Deputy Director Adam Cohen and CDC Chief Medical Officer and Deputy Director for Program and Science Dr. Debra Houry held a panel discussion with youth leaders from across the country who are working to raise awareness on the dangers of illicit drugs like fentanyl, increase education on issues related to substance use, and decrease stigma around mental health and substance use disorder through their local Drug-Free Community Coalitions. The youth leaders shared how they are working to address substance use disorder and eliminate stigma in their schools and communities.
The Administration also issued Blue Ribbon Awards to 15 Drug-Free Community Coalitions across the country for their outstanding work to prevent youth substance use and ensure young people can lead healthy and fulfilling lives. The Blue Ribbon Coalition Award recognizes high performing coalitions that do an exceptional job creating a foundation for their work by updating and utilizing their coalition products. It is a two-year recognition that opens new doors for coalitions to share their work and become a role model in the prevention field.
The following 15 coalitions received the Blue Ribbon Coalition Award:
- Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities – Troy, MI
- Braidwood Area Healthy Community Coalition (BAHCC) – Braidwood, IL
- Choose Your Path – Wauconda, IL
- Communities for Positive Youth Development – Schaumburg, Palatine, Hoffman Estates, IL
- Community in Crisis – Bernardsville, NJ
- Decatur Prevention Initiative – Decatur, GA
- Drug Free Communities of Dallas County – Selma, AL
- East Providence Prevention Coalition – East Providence, RI
- Easton Wings of Hope – Easton, MA
- Healthy Lamoille Valley – Morrisville, VT
- Pickaway Addiction Action Coalition – Circleville, OH
- Safe Communities Coalition Hunterdon – Flemington, NJ
- Tangipahoa Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change (TRACC) Coalition – Hammond, LA
- Volition Franklin – Franklin, WI
- Weber Communities that Care – Ogden, UT
The Biden-Harris Administration has made supporting our nation’s young people a top priority, and made historic investments over the past two years to strengthen local youth prevention and public awareness campaigns across the country.
Earlier today, Dr. Gupta and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a letter to schools and educators across the country sharing resources and information to help prevent drug use before it begins and ensure students have the help they need in the event of an overdose.
Read President Biden’s full proclamation on National Youth Substance Use Prevention Month HERE.
Read about Dr. Gupta and Secretary Cardona’s letter to schools HERE.