Last week, Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced 719 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants totaling $89 million, the largest-ever number of DFC grantees in a single year since the program’s founding. The grants will provide local community coalitions funding to prevent youth substance use, including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. Safe & Sound, Inc. will receive $125,000 per year for five years to continue operating the 27th Street West Drug Free Coalition, which has been in existence since 2010.
“We’re losing more than 60,000 people per year to drug overdose, but if we can stop young people from starting to use drugs in the first place, we can save lives,” said Richard Baum, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “Our local DFC coalitions are a key part of this effort because they are bringing together parents groups, schools, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, businesses, and others to prevent drug use and improve the health of the community.”
“Substance abuse is a pervasive issue in our society, and has a profound impact on young people.” said Katie Sanders, Executive Director of Safe & Sound. “Prevention is the most effective strategy to reduce drug use and its many consequences, and with these funds, the 27th Street West Drug Free Coalition will continue programming to reduce both the supply and the demand of drugs and alcohol in the 53208 zip code.” Some of the coalition’s activities to date have included corner store improvement campaigns, artistic board-ups, vacant lot renovations, peace walks and parties, youth councils and retailer trainings, among others.
Background on the Drug-Free Communities Support 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 the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 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.
Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of environmental strategies to address local drug problems. Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, healthcare and business professionals, law enforcement, and media. By involving the community in a solution-oriented approach, DFC also helps those youth at risk for substance use recognize that the majority of our Nation’s youth choose not to use drugs.
The mission of the 27th Street West Drug Free Coalition is to create an alcohol and drug-free community in the 53208 zip code. Coalition partners include Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, Our Next Generation, Near West Side Partners, Harley-Davidson, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Washington Park Partners, Westside Academy, Milwaukee Police Department, District Attorney’s Office, Community Advocates and many more.