CHARLESTON, WV (WTRF) — Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy announced today in Hurricane, West Virginia, approximately $12.4 million in grants for 99 new coalitions across the country as part of the Drug-Free Communities Support Program’s new awards for the Fiscal Year 2022.

The grants support President Biden’s Strategy to beat the overdose epidemic by providing funding to new community coalitions working to prevent youth substance use, including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol.

President Biden’s National Drug Control Strategy aims to expand evidence-based efforts to prevent and reduce young substance use such as experiencing a mental health disorder, academic issues, poverty, and health inequity.

In addition to raising awareness about the dangers of prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, community coalitions receiving awards are also working to educate communities about illicit fentanyl and counterfeit pills, which have been linked to increases in youth overdoses.

“Adolescence is a critical period to prevent the initiation of substance use when the developing brain is particularly vulnerable,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Director of ONDCP. “Research shows that youth substance use decreased significantly in communities served by a DFC-funded community coalition. This funding for communities reinforces our commitment to preventing youth substance use as part of President Biden’s Unity Agenda to beat the overdose epidemic. By investing in evidence-based prevention strategies like this, we can continue to instead help our youth reach their full potential.”

“DFC-funded coalitions are an integral part of national, multisector efforts to reduce youth substance use,” said Dr. Deb Houry, CDC Acting Principal Deputy Director. “The DFC Support Program improves collaboration among community leaders, enabling community coalitions to meet the local prevention needs of families and young people in their communities, paving the way for healthier and brighter futures for all.”