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Yarmuth Announces $375,000 in Federal Funding to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse in Louisville

(Louisville, KY) Today at the Neighborhood House in Portland, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-03) announced that three local community coalitions would each receive $125,000 in federal support to continue efforts aimed at reducing youth substance abuse in Louisville. Portland Now, Inc., the 7th Street Corridor PAL Coalition, and the Louisville Metro Alliance for Youth: South Jefferson Community Partnership are the award recipients of a total of $375,000 in funding as part of the Drug Free Communities Support program.

“By supporting local, community-based efforts that are effectively connecting with young people and educating them about the threat of substance abuse, this federal funding is investing in a healthy and safe future for our young people and for our entire community,” said Congressman Yarmuth.

Directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Drug Free Communities program (DFC) provides support for local community coalitions to maximize participation in drug diversion and prevention initiatives.  In Louisville, the efforts of the organizations receiving funding include:

 

  • Collecting hundreds of pounds of potentially harmful medications during organized “Prescription Drug Toss” events,
  • Planned “Kick Butts Day” events to raise awareness of the dangers of youth tobacco use,
  • Offered Counseling and Early Intervention Programs to at-risk youth,
  • Organized “Mother’s Day Out” to educate pregnant women about having healthy pregnancies,
  • Held Tobacco Compliance Checks to ensure local businesses do not sell tobacco to underage youth,
  • Provide leadership training to engage young people in solving  problems in their neighborhoods .

 

“Two years ago, the Louisville Metro Alliance for Youth recognized that the lives of too many young people were being ravaged by alcohol and other drugs in south Jefferson County, an area of the county with few resources,” said Dodie Huff-Fletcher, Program Director for the South Jefferson Community Partnership. “Since then, with the Drug Free Communities grant, the coalition has made strides toward strengthening collaboration to reduce youth drug abuse and made headway in reducing youth use of alcohol and other drugs.  As we enter this third year of funding, we anticipate making even greater strides in impacting population change through continuing to implement environmental prevention strategies.” 

Recent national research indicates these community-oriented efforts are working. In communities across the country receiving DFC  funding, alcohol use among middle school students declined 12 percent while tobacco use declined 28 percent since the implementation of the programs.

“Substance abuse prevention education is a critical component of raising healthy children and youth, yet it sometimes falls on the back burner as schools, communities and families deal with many other important and pressing problems.   All the research shows that addiction problems in adults are strongly correlated with experimentation and use during adolescence- in fact Columbia University identifies youth substance use as the number one emerging public health epidemic,” said Jackie McComb, Project Director of the Portland Now Prevention Partnership. “We must make this a top priority if we want to improve the lives of children and families.  We are grateful that this grant allows our community to coordinate and improve our prevention efforts, and grateful to the Portland Now Neighborhood Association for bringing this project to the Portland neighborhood.”

"The Drug Free Community grant has provided the 7th Street PAL Coalition with the opportunity to work toward reducing substance abuse among young people,” said Nancy Carrington, program director for the 7th Street Corridor PAL Coalition. “The 7th Street PAL Corridor in Louisville has joined in the collaborative effort to address these issues with residents and community leaders in developing strategies that provide strong neighborhoods where children can be raised in the a healthy environment."

In March of 2010, Congressman Yarmuth urged Congressional leadership to increase funding for the DFC program. However, for FY2012, reductions of more than $6 million have been proposed for the program.

The awards announced by Yarmuth today provide continued federal support to the three coalitions, and are funded through the FY 2011 continuing resolution. About 600 coalitions receive support nationwide.