Nine Rhode Island community coalitions are getting a collective $1.1 million boost in grants to help combat youth substance abuse, including North Kingstown's substance abuse task force – Working Together for Wellness.
Rhode Island's Congressional delegation announced that task forces in Barrington, Chariho, Middletown, Narragansett, North Kingstown, Providence, Smithfield and Woonsocket will be receiving $1,122,062 in grants from the Drug-Free Communities Support Program. The grants are used to "strengthen partnerships among community organizations, parents, youth, schools, health care and business professionals and law enforcement.
The grant will be split amongst nine prevention coalitions/task forces across the state that work to reduce the prevalence of drugs and help youth make healthier and safer decisions. The nine communities are:
- Barrington Substance Abuse Task Force: $124,131
- Chariho Tri-Town Task Force: $124,595
- Town of Middletown: $125,000
- Narragansett Prevention Partnership: $123,336
- Working Together for Wellness (North Kingstown): $125,000
- Mayor's Substance Cause Prevention Council (Providence): $125,000
- The Smithfield Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (North Prov., Johnston and Smithfield): $125,000
- Tiverton Prevention Council: $125,000
- Woonsocket Task Force on Substance Abuse: $125,000
The DFC Program, administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997. It offers matching grants, with recipients providing a minimum of a one-to-one match in local funding for each federal dollar they are awarded.
According to ONDCP, recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower. Over the life of the DFC program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.
For middle school youth living in DFC-funded communities, data from the DFC National Evaluation indicate a 16 percent reduction in alcohol use, 27 percent reduction in tobacco use, and 23 percent reduction in marijuana use. High school-aged youth have reduced their use of alcohol by 9 percent, tobacco by 16 percent, and marijuana by 7 percent in DFC-funded communities. DFC-funded coalitions are actively engaged in facilitating prescription drug take-back programs in conjunction with local law enforcement, as well as local policy change to effectively address the accessibility and available of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.