07.23.21

Drug-Free Communities Programs in Portsmouth, Lincoln, and Warren Get Federal Boost

$375K for youth substance use prevention comes after record year for drug overdoses

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline today announced that three programs in Rhode Island received a total of $375,000 from the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Drug-Free Communities Support Program. The Portsmouth School Department and the towns of Lincoln and Warren each received $125,000 to fund substance use prevention strategies amid the worsening nationwide drug abuse crisis.

“These grants will help prevent substance abuse and make our communities safer. By supporting coalitions among families, schools, non-profits, law enforcement, and businesses, these Drug-Free Communities grants will help educate young people about the dangers and consequences of substance abuse,” said Senator Reed.

“Far too many Rhode Island families have lost a loved one to addiction,” said Senator Whitehouse, who has helped lead the charge in Congress to fight the opioid addiction crisis for years and co-authored the landmark bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. “Prevention has an important role to play in curbing this crisis, which worsened significantly over the course of the pandemic.”

“As our nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, drug overdoses are tragically skyrocketing, and far too many Americans are struggling with substance abuse issues,” said Congressman Langevin. “I’m glad that this federal funding will be used to equip Rhode Island kids with strategies to prevent drug abuse. We must do all we can to stem the tide of overdoses raging across the country.”

“Addiction is terrible disease that impacts families all across Rhode Island,” Congressman Cicilline said. “These federal grants will help stem the tide of this disease and help prevent even more families from losing loved ones.”

The Drug-Free Communities Program is designed to support communities as they mobilize individuals and organizations to prevent youth substance use. Drug-Free Communities-funded coalitions have made significant declines in prevalence of youth use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and the misuse of prescription drugs.

More than 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, up nearly 30 percent from 2019. According to Rhode Island Department of Health data, 384 Rhode Islanders died of accidental drug overdoses in 2020.