(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) announced today with Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Congressman Chris Pappas (NH-01) that $750,000 in federal funding from the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program is coming to organizations in Portsmouth and Souhegan Valley to support youth substance use prevention programs. The Greater Portsmouth Youth Wellness Coalition will receive $625,000 over five years and the Community Action for Safe Teens, a committee of the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley, will receive $125,000.
“Far too many young Granite Staters fall victim to substance use each year, devastating families and entire communities across New Hampshire,” said Senator Shaheen, chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice. “The federal grants we’re announcing today will help support proven programs to prevent substance use among young people and help those who’ve been impacted by this epidemic.”
“As we continue to experience the devastating effects of the opioid crisis in New Hampshire, I am glad to see this funding coming to our state to help prevent substance misuse among our young people. Early prevention can help save lives as we continue our all-hands-on-deck effort to address the opioid epidemic,” said Senator Hassan.
“Every life lost to substance use disorder is a tragedy – we can and must do more to prevent addiction before it starts. I’m pleased to see these resources heading to New Hampshire to do just that,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force. “I was proud to help secure this funding and will continue working to ensure organizations like Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls Club have the tools and support they need to teach our younger generation the dangers of substance use and prevent addiction.”
“Our nation’s drug crisis is deeply personal for New Hampshire families as all of our communities have been touched by this issue in one way or another,” said Congressman Pappas. “This funding will support youth substance use prevention efforts by New Hampshire organizations through education, engagement programs, and outreach. I will keep working to deliver resources that will support the critical work of these organizations and help our communities as we continue to confront the addiction crisis.”
The Greater Portsmouth Youth Wellness Coalition serves Greater Portsmouth (Portsmouth, Rye, Newcastle, Newington and Greenland), a community of over 33,000. The goals of the coalition are to establish and strengthen community collaboration in support of local efforts to prevent youth substance use.
The Community Action for Safe Teens serves Amherst, Brookline, Hollis, Lyndeborough, Mason, Milford, Mont Vernon and Wilton, New Hampshire, a community of over 48,000. The committee aims to address substance use by implementing primary prevention strategies, increasing health equity for marginalized populations, increasing protective factors including youth engagement, parental involvement, social and emotional learning in school settings and youth-serving agencies, increasing resources and substance free youth and family activities in the Souhegan Valley Region.
These awards are funded by Congress and administered by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), which also administers the DFC Support Program. Shaheen and Hassan have spearheaded crucial legislation and funding to stem the opioid epidemic, including through Shaheen’s leadership on the pivotal Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies which oversees funding for the Department of Justice. Shaheen has fought annually for higher funding for the ONDCP and programs the office administers. In March, Shaheen met with Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the ONDCP, for a discussion on the federal government’s ongoing response to the substance use disorder epidemic. In their discussion, the Senators addressed the responsibility that big tech companies must take in response to drug traffickers using their platforms to target young people through social media.
Congresswoman Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force, sent a letter on behalf of the Boys & Girls Club in support of their DFC funding application for the next five years to further their efforts to address substance use among teens in New Hampshire. Earlier this year, she met with leaders of the Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls Club to discuss the Club’s initiatives and ways Congress can support their important work.