SAMHSA Heads Drug-Free
By Jon Bowen
SAMHSA is expanding its leadership role in substance
abuse prevention by assuming responsibility for management
of the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) program. A broad initiative,
the program currently funds more than 600 community coalitions
and 200 mentoring programs across the country.
On October 1, the Office of National Drug Control Policy
(ONDCP) transferred the grant administration of the program
from the Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention to the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services—specifically, SAMHSA's
Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).
"For SAMHSA, this program will become an integral
part of our prevention work," said SAMHSA Administrator
Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W. "The Agency's commitment
and dedication to grassroots efforts in communities nationwide
will serve this program well."
The Drug-Free Communities program provides grants of
up to $100,000 to community coalitions that mobilize
their communities to prevent or reduce alcohol, tobacco,
illicit drug, and inhalant abuse by youth.
The grants support local coalitions that comprise diverse
populations—youth, parents, the media, law enforcement,
school officials, faith-based and fraternal organizations,
health care professionals, and state, local, and tribal
government agencies, as well as other community representatives.
"Giving community coalitions the resources and
tools they need to strengthen their coordination and
prevention efforts is critical," said CSAP Director
Beverly Watts Davis. "The Drug-Free Communities
program encourages people of all ages to join in reducing
substance abuse in their communities," she added.
Information about current effective programs is also
provided to community leaders.
Moving the DFC program to SAMHSA follows recommendations
made by the Advisory Commission for Drug-Free Communities.
ONDCP solicited proposals from multiple Federal agencies
to administer the Drug-Free Communities program grants.
After careful review, ONDCP officials asked SAMHSA to
assume control of the program.
On SAMHSA's new role, ONDCP Director John Walters said,
"I am confident this leadership change will allow
our anti-drug coalitions to become even more successful
in preventing drug use."
On September 27, the same day Mr. Walters announced
that SAMHSA would assume control of the DFC grants program,
he awarded $21.9 million in new Drug-Free Communities
matching grants to 227 communities in 46 states. An additional
$41 million will support the continuation of grant awards
to 487 existing community coalition projects operating
in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S.
Upcoming Drug-Free Communities grants will be announced
The DFC program was created under the Drug-Free Communities
Act of 1997. In December 2001, Congress passed and the
President signed into law a 5-year extension of the Drug-Free
Communities Act, authorizing $399 million in funds through
Fiscal Year 2007.
For more information, visit SAMHSA's Web site at www.drugfreecommunities.samhsa.gov
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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