I am actively involved both at home and in D.C. with the prevention and treatment of substance abuse. I believe our approach to drug use must be consistent and it must focus on engaging entire communities in combating substance abuse.
I am the co-author of the federal program, The Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, which is designed to reduce substance abuse among young people by supporting community anti-drug coalitions made up of youth, parents, local law enforcement, school officials, faith-based organizations, government agencies, health professionals and other community members.
With approximately 650 DF-funded anti-drug coalitions across the country, the program has achieved impressive outcomes in reducing marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco use levels to lower than the national average. A national evaluation of the DFC program, conducted by ICF International, found that DFC coalitions have achieved significant reductions in youth substance abuse. In those communities where DFC coalitions exist, past 30 day use rates among middle school students for marijuana, alcohol and tobacco declined by 23%, 20% and 26%, respectively. Among high school students in DFC funded communities, past 30 day use rates for marijuana, alcohol and tobacco decreased by 4%, 10% and 17%, respectively.
While the DFC program is achieving measureable results at the local level, youth drug use is on the rise nationally. The latest (2013) Monitoring the Future (MTF) study found that at the national level: more 8th, 10th and 12th grade students are smoking marijuana than cigarettes every 30 days; 6.5% of high school seniors reported daily marijuana use, among the highest levels in 30 years; 38.8% of 10th graders reported the use of any illicit drug in their lifetime; and half of America’s high school seniors have tried an illicit drug by the time they graduate, with 4 in 10 reporting the use of an illicit drug in the past year alone. In addition, the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs continues to be an American epidemic, killing more people than traffic accidents. According to the latest MTF study, prescription drugs account for 5 of the 10 most frequently abused drugs in the past year by both 8th and 12th graders.
Since the DFC program's inception, however, the available funding has been insufficient to meet the overwhelming demand. Historically, only one-third of the community coalitions that have applied have been able to receive grants. During the 113th Congress, I am leading the effort to maintain critical funding for the program. Earlier this year, I led a group of nearly 80 Members of Congress in sending a formal request to the House Appropriations Committee in support of funding for the DFC program.
- More on Drug Free Communities
- Contact Information For Local Community Anti-Drug Coalitions
- Read the 2010 Fall Edition of the Coalition Edition
- Read the 2010 Winter Edition of the Coalition Edition
- Read the 2009 Fall Edition of the Coalition Edition
(Updated May 7, 2014)