Drug-Free Communities Support Program

Preventing Youth Substance Use is Critical

The Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program is the nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent and reduce substance use among youth. Created in 1997 by the Drug-Free Communities Act, administered by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and managed through a partnership between ONDCP and CDC, 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.

The DFC program is aimed at mobilizing community leaders to identify and respond to the drug problems unique to their community and change local community environmental conditions tied to substance use. More than 700 community coalitions across the country receive funding up to $125,000 per year to strengthen collaboration among local partners and create an infrastructure that reduces youth substance use.

The DFC program goals are to:

  • 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 use among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase risk for substance use and promoting factors that minimize risk for substance use.

Addressing Environmental Conditions

Seven Strategies to Affect Community Change
  1. Provide information
  2. Enhance skills
  3. Provide support
  4. Enhance access/reduce barriers
  5. Change consequence
  6. Change physical design
  7. Modify or change policies

Coalitions’ activities are guided by the Strategic Prevention Framework pdf icon[PDF]external icon and the Seven Strategies to Affect Community Change pdf icon[PDF]external icon. These frameworks acknowledge that environmental contexts impact the risk of youth substance use. In assessing the complex environmental contexts, we recognize that the way communities are structured affects our health. By understanding environmental contexts, coalitions can better address risk factors for youth substance use and ensure their communities are places where youth can thrive.

Ultimately, these strategic frameworks help coalitions limit access to substances, change the culture and context within which decisions about substance use are made, and shift the consequences associated with substance use.

In coordination with the DFC Support Program, Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARAexternal icon) Local Drug Crisis grants provide funds to 55 communities to enhance DFC efforts by creating sustainable community-level change to prevent and reduce the use of illicit opioids or methamphetamine and the misuse of prescription medications among youth.

Learn more about the work that DFC Coalitions do in their communities.

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