to combat youth substance abuse. After 5 years of the program, annual national competitions have awarded 531 grants to coalitions in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These coalitions work to reduce substance abuse among youth and strengthen collaboration among organizations and agencies in both the private and public sectors.
The Drug-Free Communities Program (DFC) represents a collaborative effort involving the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. An 11-member expert advisory commission appointed by the president provides guidance.
DFC coalitions are required to include members from various sectors of the community working on multiple community prevention strategies. Members include youths, parents, businesses, the media, schools, youth organizations, law enforcement, religious or fraternal organizations, civic groups, health care, state, local or tribal governmental agencies, and other organizations. The DFC program represents a useful model for a national program to reduce underage drinking.
Recommendation 11-2: Public and private funders should support community mobilization to reduce underage drinking. Federal funding for reducing and preventing underage drinking should be available under a national program dedicated to community-level approaches to reducing underage drinking, similar to the Drug Free Communities Act, which supports communities in addressing substance abuse with targeted, evidence-based prevention strategies.