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Congressman Yarmuth Announces Federal Funding to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse in Louisville

LOUISVILLE – On Tuesday, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced $375,000 in federal funding to support community coalitions that work to prevent substance abuse among young people in Louisville. The funding is part of a $76.7 million federal investment in the Drug-Free Communities Program, which was established in 1997 to help mobilize local individuals and organizations to prevent youth substance abuse.

The grants were awarded to three Louisville organizations: the 7th Street Corridor PAL Coalition, the Portland Now Prevention Partnership, and the South Jefferson Community Partnership of the Louisville Metro Alliance for Youth. Each organization is receiving $125,000 to continue prevention initiatives.

“These organizations provide vital neighborhood-level support in our ongoing efforts to curb substance abuse among young people in Louisville,” Yarmuth said. “From Shawnee to Okolona, from Fairdale to Portland and throughout central Louisville, these federal investments will support prevention initiatives and help build safe, healthy communities.”

“We are grateful to Congressman Yarmuth for his help in securing resources for this critical mission,” said Dodie Huff-Fletcher, Project Director for the South Jefferson Community Partnership of the Metro Alliance for Youth. “These funds will allow us to build on the gains made in the prevention of use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and prescription drugs by our youth and the use of methamphetamine by adults. The comprehensive strategies developed with these funds will expand our outreach to new populations, such as military, homeless, recovery, and LGBTQI, and ensure safer and healthier communities for our youth.”

Tomy Baker Molloy is the PAL Coalition Coordinator for the Center for Neighborhoods. The PAL Coalition works to reduce substance abuse in the 7th Street corridor of central Louisville, which includes Old Louisville, Park Hill, and South Louisville neighborhoods.

“For the PAL Coalition, prevention is pro-active, a collaborative effort not simply to steer young people away from harm, but to engage young people with respect and trust at the time in their lives when they are most vulnerable to the allure of experimentation and escape,” Molloy said. “This investment by a highly-respected federal agency in a proven, evidence-based approach is exactly the kind of partnership with citizens and local institutions – and highly effective leverage of federal funds – that must not be ignored at a time when the Congress is debating the fundamental role of government in, and with, our communities.”

The Portland Now Prevention Partnership is a coalition of residents and service providers working to reduce substance abuse among young people in their community.

“This funding is one of the few remaining supports for youth substance abuse prevention,” said Project Director Jackie McComb. “Newer research shows that 90 percent of adults who have addiction problems began using before the age of 18, which suggests that addiction is a disease with its roots in adolescence. In fact, Columbia University calls youth substance use America’s number one emerging health epidemic, and I hope we can bring more attention to this problem.”

The Drug-Free Communities Program was created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, and reauthorized by Congress in 2001 and 2006. Since 1998, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has awarded more than 2,000 grants to communities in every state and in U.S. territories. The rate of overall drug use in the U.S. has declined by roughly 30 percent since 1979.