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White House Drug Policy Office awards more than $84 million to prevent youth substance use

October 11, 2012
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
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Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, has announced $84.6 million in Drug-Free Communities Support Program (DFC) grants to 692 communities across the country.  These grants will provide local communities support to prevent youth substance use and reduce the demand for drug consumption in the United States.  Kerlikowske made the announcement during an address to the Council on Foreign Relations.

“America’s success in the 21st century depends in part on our ability to help young people make decisions that will keep them healthy and safe,” said Kerlikowske. “We commend the Drug-Free Communities Support Program grantees on their work to raise a generation of young people equipped to remain drug-free and ready to prosper in school, in their communities, and in the workplace.  While law enforcement efforts will always serve a vital role in keeping our communities safe, we know that stopping drug use before it ever begins is always the smartest and most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences.”

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program is directed by ONDCP, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The DFC Program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate youth and adult participation at the community level in local youth drug prevention efforts. Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, healthcare and business professionals, law enforcement, and media.

The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. More recently, there has been a nearly 40 percent reduction in the number of current cocaine users and the number of current meth users has dropped by half.  To build on this progress and support a balance of public health and safety approaches to drug control outlined in the 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, the Obama Administration has committed over $10 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders in FY 2012. 

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It is well known that the Drug Policy in this country is a war against black people. If the figures are correct, which states that 85% of people that go to prison for drug use in this country are black, while just as many whites use drugs as blacks. and get minimal treatment, but spend their time trying to survive real criminals and in some cases falling prey to the lifestyle or becoming traumatized (PTSD)

I read a lot, maybe I missed it, but I haven't read where there has been one organization that is advocating for fairness in the sentencing process and letting us know about it, with the exception of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) who has made a stand and states that this country's Drug Policy is a failure to the tune of $51 billion. Our ethical duty is to treat and advocate for all. When I used to work homeless Vietnam Veterans we went into the prison to treat and advocate for them, helping then to name their pain, which was not substance abuse, but PTSD. We rarely got anyone released, but we were able to assure them that what they were experiencing was real, and they were not crazy. We need to stop these fail policies.

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