Unite Coalition recieves $625,000 grant

Pictured are Gilbert Holland, Knox County UNITE Local Government Representative, Marcia Dixon, Drug Free Communities Director, and Claudia Gibson Greenwood, Knox County UNITE Coalition Chair.
Pictured are Gilbert Holland, Knox County UNITE Local Government Representative, Marcia Dixon, Drug Free Communities Director, and Claudia Gibson Greenwood, Knox County UNITE Coalition Chair.

Special to the Mountain Advocate

Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced 680 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants, totaling $84 million to communities across the country. The grants will provide local communities funding to prevent youth substance use and support the Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy, which treats our Nation’s drug problem through a balanced public health and safety approach. The Knox County UNITE Coalition from Barbourville, Kentucky, was one of the grant recipients and will receive $625,000 in DFC grant funds to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.

President Obama designated October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month because we know the best way to reduce youth drug use is to stop it from ever beginning,” said Acting Director Botticelli. “Today, I congratulate prevention advocates for their continuing hard work and dedication to young people many of whom are struggling with peer pressure and other challenges in today’s society.”

“We are not powerless against the challenge of drug use among young people here in Barbourville,” said Claudia Gibson Greenwood, Knox County UNITE Chair. “Research shows that prevention is the most effective tool we have to reduce the terrible consequences associated with drug use among young people. This new funding will allow the Knox County UNITE Coalition to help place more young people on the path toward success and enable them to live healthier and safer lives.”

“Drug-free coalitions across the nation are mobilizing to mount effective, coordinated prevention programs against substance use, especially among youth,” said Pamela S. Hyde, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). “SAMHSA is honored to partner with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy in building these critically important community coalitions.”

The Knox County UNITE Coalition will specifically work to address the prevention of alcohol and tobacco.

The Drug-Free Communities Support Program is directed by ONDCP in partnership with HHS’s SAMHSA. The DFC Program provides grants up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate youth and adult participation at the community level in local youth drug use prevention efforts. Coalitions are comprised of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, and media.

The DFC Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997 and reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, ONDCP has awarded over 2,000 DFC grants to local communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Palau, American Samoa, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia.

The rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. More recently, the number of current cocaine users has declined by more than a third (36%) from 2006 to 2013, and the number of current meth users has fallen by 19 percent over the same period. To build on this progress and support a balance of public health and safety approaches to drug control outlined in the Strategy, in FY 2015 the Obama Administration has requested nearly $10.9 billion for drug education programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders.

For more information about the Administration efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences, or to learn more about the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, visit: www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp

Locally, the Knox County UNITE Coalition has contracted Marcia Dixon, former DFC Director, to once again serve in that position. Hon. Gilbert E. Holland has been elected to work with the Coalition as the Local Government Representative. Both Ms. Dixon and Mr. Holland will work with the Knox County UNITE Coalition with their activities and events.

The Knox County UNITE Coalition meets monthly at 2 Amigos Restaurant in the Union Plaza Shopping Center, Barbourville, on the first Tuesday at 12:00 noon. Everyone is welcome to attend. For questions, you may contact Claudia at 606-546-9515.