Drug-Free Communities Program Successes
A national evaluation conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2021 found that 67 million people (1 in 5 Americans) lived in communities served by Drug Free Communities (DFC)-funded coalitions. The evaluation findings demonstrate that DFC coalitions successfully build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth substance use and have a positive impact in their communities.
- DFC coalitions reported decreases in use of alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and prescription drug misuse among high school-aged youth living in DFC-funded communities over a 30-day period.
- DFC coalitions successfully mobilized approximately 30,000 community members to engage in youth substance use prevention/reduction efforts.
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of DFC coalitions implemented at least one activity in at least five of the seven strategy types.
- DFC coalitions tailored prevention efforts to serve a diverse range of community types and demographics.1
Coalitions focus on advancing protective factors that buffer youth against substance use, such as community involvement, positive contributions to peer groups, and establishing safe and supportive school environments. They also address risk factors, such as perceived acceptability of substance use, availability of substances, and favorable attitudes towards substance use, among others.
DFC coalitions use a model from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), a national prevention partner, with seven strategies that can bring about community change. Each strategy represents a key element to change individual behaviors and community conditions.
How DFC Coalitions Apply the 7 Strategies for Community Change
For more information on national program progress, read a summary of the DFC National Evaluation Report. The evaluation findings are based on DFC program implementation data from February 2021 to August 2021 and core measures data from 2002 to 2021. Additional details about the program and findings are presented in full in the report.
Collaboration among public health and safety agencies, physicians, mental health and substance use treatment providers, and educators to implement these efforts could save lives.
- Executive Office of the President-Office of National Drug Control Policy. Drug Free Communities Support Program National Evaluation. Executive Summary August 2021. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/DCOS-EDITS-FINAL-FY-2021-DFC-National-Cross-Site-Evaluation-EOY-Report-Published-July-2022_dfc_template_2022_JUL13_Clean-DCOS.pdf. Accessed December 22, 2022.