Drug Free Communities

DFC: Community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth

The Tiverton Prevention Coalition received a $625,000 Drug Free Communities grant ($125 thousand a year for five years) to prevent and reduce underage drinking and substance abuse in Tiverton.The Coalition was among a select group of only 88 organizations nationwide that received first-year DFC funding in FY11. Awards are based on severity of need and a community's track record in implementing prevention programs.

What is DFC? The Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based prevention coalitions. The goals of the DFC program are:

  • Establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies, and Federal, State, local, and tribal governments to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth.

  • Reduce substance use among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1997, the DFC program has funded nearly 2,000 coalitions and currently mobilizes nearly 9,000 community volunteers across the country. The philosophy behind the DFC program is that local drug problems require local solutions.

DFC works! Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower. Over the life of the DFC program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.

Over the past five years, DFC-funded communities have achieved significant reductions in youth alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use. For middle school youth living in DFC-funded communities, data from the DFC National Evaluation indicate a 12% reduction in alcohol use, 28% reduction in tobacco use, and 24% reduction in marijuana use. High school-aged youth have reduced their use of alcohol by 8%, tobacco by 17%, and marijuana by 11% in DFC-funded communities. DFC-funded coalitions are actively engaged in facilitating prescription drug take-back programs in conjunction with local law enforcement, as well as local policy change to effectively address the accessibility and availability of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

"Now, more than ever."Recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate increases in youth prescription drug abuse, as well as marijuana, ecstasy, and methamphetamine use. Now, more than ever, the DFC program is needed in communities across the country to help prevent drug use and reduce its consequences. Drug problems manifest in local communities and show up in our schools, churches, health centers, and in our homes. The DFC program helps local leaders organize to identify the youth drug issues unique to their communities and develop the infrastructures necessary to effectively prevent and respond to the disease of addiction.

Check out the "Drug Free Communities Support Program National Evaluation, 2010 Status Report."

Review "The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking" that contains many of the strategies that every member of a community can use to make Tiverton a safer place for our youth.