HINSDALE, N.H. -- The Hinsdale Community Coalition was named as one of the recipients to receive funding through new Drug-Free Communities Support Program grants from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
The HCC will be granted $125,000 of $7.9 million made available across the country by DFC and DFC Mentoring grants as a way to involve and engage the local community to prevent drug use among youth. The money, set to benefit 60 communities, comes in addition to the nearly $76.7 million in continuation grants released to 608 currently funded DFC coalitions and 18 DFC Mentoring Continuation coalitions.
The awards were announced Monday by Gil Kerlikowske, director of the ONDCP, but HCC project coordinator Patrice Strifert said she received notification about two weeks ago.
"It means we can not only continue the work we’re doing but for the next few years ... we’ll learn how to sustain it when the grant money is gone," said Strifert, HCC’s only full-time employee. The HCC relies heavily on volunteers.
She said portions of the grant money will cover her salary and various programs the coalition uses to educate local youth about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Strifert said all sports coaches at Hinsdale Middle/High School have completed three-day courses to train them to spot problems of alcohol and drugs within their teams and how to deal with it. She said it cost about $1,200
Strifert said surveys, used to extract information from students about their attitudes toward substance use, will also be funded with the grant money instead of coming out of the school budget. She said the surveys cost about $900 to complete.
The HCC is in its ninth year of a 10-year cycle with DFC, and Strifert said it must re-apply for grants every year and show progress in order to obtain any.
The DFC Program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate citizen participation in local drug prevention efforts. According to HHC, coalitions consist of community leaders, youth, parents, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, the media and others working together at the local level.
Strifert had difficulty finding words to describe how it important it is to help young people avoid substance use.
"I think ‘vital’ is probably an understatement," she said on Tuesday, adding that at-risk youth cannot be helped unless there is some sort of group or organization making it a priority.
She said it takes a lot of dedication for coalitions to focus on how to combat new drug trends, such as prescription drugs, cough syrup or bath salts, the street name for a type of designer drug often containing substituted cathinones, giving effects similar to cocaine and amphetamine.
The HCC, Strifert said, will also work to address the issue of marijuana use.
According to the HCC, the rate of overall drug use in the United States has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979. The Obama administration has requested more than $10 billion in FY2013 for drug prevention programs and support for expanding access to drug treatment for people suffering from substance use disorders in order to build upon this progress.
This will build upon the $30 billion already spent over the past three years on drug use prevention and treatment.
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.