March 18, 2015

President’s FY 2016 Budget Request Includes Cut to Drug Free Communities Program

Last week, Coalitions Online reported on the President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request. In today’s Coalitions Online, CADCA evaluates what the budget could mean to the Drug Free Communities (DFC) program and the movement, in general.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request includes a $7.8 million cut to the highly effective DFC program.

In FY 2015, the DFC program was funded at $93.5 million. The President requests $85.7 million for the program for FY 2016. Since only approximately one third of coalitions applying for DFC funding are successful, this cut will have a tremendous impact on the number of grants available and greatly reduce the number of coalitions ultimately funded.

“We are extremely concerned about the proposed cut to the DFC program. The DFC program has been proven to reduce prescription drug abuse, underage drinking, tobacco use, marijuana use and other drug-related problems in communities across the country and is our nation’s first line of defense when it comes to reducing youth drug use,” said CADCA Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean.

Since the passage of the DFC Act in 1998, the DFC Program has funded more than 2,000 coalitions across the country. DFC is unique in that it empowers communities to address their specific drug-related problems. With a small federal investment, the DFC Program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC Program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use. Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower.

Another program slated for cuts is the Access to Recovery program within the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), which would be completely eliminated.

The President’s overall request, however, does allocate funding to help address our nation’s opioid epidemic. It includes $35 million for three initiatives within the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP): a new $12 million grant program to help states reduce opioid overdose deaths through wider use of naloxone; a new $10 million Strategic Prevention Framework for Prescription Drugs (SPF-Rx) program; and a new $15 million tribal behavioral health grant program.

Also of interest to the substance abuse prevention field is that the President’s budget request would keep the same level of funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant and for the State Department’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Demand Reduction Program. In addition, it would increase funding to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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