(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) announced $250,000 in Drug Free Communities (DFC) grants from the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to two local drug prevention coalitions in New Hampshire. The grants will provide the Keene YMCA Community Coalition on Youth Substance Use and All Together in the Upper Valley region funding to prevent youth substance misuse, including prescription drugs and opioids.
The DFC Program is administered by ONDCP with program support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). DFC coalitions have led innovative opioid prevention initiatives and have demonstrated significant declines in prevalence of prescription drug misuse amongst participants.
“Youth drug prevention coalitions do lifesaving work to protect children from substance misuse in our effort to stop another generation from succumbing to this epidemic. As the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbates the substance use disorder crisis, we need to ensure these programs have the resources they need to maintain existing programs and reach more people,” said Senator Shaheen. “I am pleased to announce these grants, which will help Keene, Swanzey and communities in the Upper Valley region with important youth drug prevention efforts. Delivering federal resources to our communities to help combat the substance use disorder epidemic will continue to be one of my top priorities so that together we can turn the tide of this crisis.”
“These federal grants to youth drug prevention coalitions in New Hampshire will help in our efforts to stem the tide of substance misuse among our young people,” Senator Hassan said. “These federal dollars are particularly important as the COVID-19 pandemic has strained resources for prevention and recovery organizations across our state. I will continue to fight alongside the rest of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation to secure critical resources to help prevent substance misuse among Granite Staters of all ages.”
“Youth substance misuse prevention programs play a critical role in preventing substance abuse and combating the substance misuse epidemic in New Hampshire and nationwide,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “With the COVID-19 pandemic worsening the addiction crisis and making it more difficult for those who are struggling to access the care they need, it is imperative that these programs have the necessary funding and resources. I am proud to join my colleagues to help announce this important investment in our state’s wellbeing and I will continue working to fight the substance misuse crisis.”
Senator Shaheen, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice which oversees numerous programs to combat substance use disorder, has consistently advocated for the DFC program and with Senator Hassan, has led efforts in the Senate to respond to the opioid crisis. Shaheen has hosted DFC roundtable discussions with local students, school administrators, community leaders and youth advocates in Woodsville as well as Milford, where she joined the New Hampshire congressional delegation and ONDCP Director Jim Carroll.
In 2018, Senators Shaheen and Hassan helped negotiate a bipartisan agreement that resulted in a large national increase in opioid treatment funding through the State Opioid Response (SOR) grant program over two years – including $28 million this year. The Senators helped negotiate a 15 percent set-aside of federal funding for hardest hit states, which has helped states hardest hit, like New Hampshire. These combined efforts led to a 1000% increase in federal treatment and prevention funding for New Hampshire. Last year, Senator Shaheen spearheaded new legislation—the Turn the Tide Act —to increase the availability of substance use disorder treatment. A key component of her legislation to allow treatment providers to use SOR grants to treat help patients suffering from methamphetamine and cocaine dependency, in addition to opioid use disorder, was included in funding legislation signed into law in December. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact New Hampshire, the congressional delegation has repeatedly called for additional funding for substance use disorder services in a COVID-19 relief package. Earlier this month, Shaheen and the New Hampshire Congressional delegation announced $1.75 million to fund a Family Treatment Court (FTC) pilot project – the state’s first FTC – in Sullivan County to help enhance access to services for children and families experiencing abuse and neglect, and those impacted by substance use disorder (SUD) and/or mental illness.