Substance abuse is a formidable opponent for our nation. Despite heightened awareness and drug-related deaths reaching epidemic-level proportions, little headway has been made in ending the crisis of youth substance abuse.
Yet, hope is on the horizon, as it always should be.
In September of 2017, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced that $89 million has been awarded to 719 local drug prevention coalitions through the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program .
This is the “largest number of single-year grantees since the program’s founding .”
The DFC was created in 1997 and is the Nation’s “leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance abuse .”
The program recognizes that local solutions work best for local problems and provides funding for community coalitions to use in strengthening infrastructure among local partners “to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance abuse .”
Combating youth substance abuse could be incredibly valuable in cutting-off the epidemic at the knees. The majority of those with a substance use disorder began abusing by the age of 18 and developed their disorder by 20 .
Further, using drugs or alcohol in adolescence increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder.
15.2% of those that drink alcohol before the age of 14 develop alcohol abuse or dependence and 25% of those that begin abusing prescription drugs at age 13 or younger develop a substance use disorder during their lives .
The goal is for the money provided by the DFC Support Program to reduce substance abuse disorders by decreasing substance use in adolescents, reducing the likelihood of that use becoming a disorder.
The program has been successful since its founding, with past 30-day misuse of prescription drugs and past 30-day use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana significantly declining in all DFC’s .
This epidemic is a huge problem but programs such as the DFC are proof that government organizations and community coalitions are working together to combat it.
About the Author: Margot Rittenhouse is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.
As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.
 SAMHSA (2017). $89 million awarded to largest-ever number of community coalitions to prevent youth substance abuse. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved on 08 January 2018 from https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USSAMHSA/bulletins/1b9437a.
 Grants and programs (2017). Office of National Drug Control Policy. Retrieved on 08 January 2018 from https://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/grants-programs/.
 Principles of adolescent substance use disorder treatment: a research-based guide (2017). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved on 08 January 2018 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-adolescent-substance-use-disorder-treatment-research-based-guide/introduction.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on March 1, 2018
Published on AddictionHope.com