Bill would provide flexibility during pandemic for drug program

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A bill introduced in the U.S. House would provide temporary flexibility in the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program during the pandemic.

The DFC program supports community-based coalitions that aim to decrease the prevalence of alcohol and drug misuse among middle school and high school youth.

Under the Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) would waive the community match requirement for grantees to receive federal dollars if community partners are unable to raise funds because of the pandemic.

Coalitions unable to meet DFC program match requirements because of the pandemic would not be required temporarily to fulfill match requirements to receive federal grant funding.

The bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of more than 30 lawmakers.

“As the coronavirus pandemic has devastated Ohio, we cannot forget the other ongoing public health crisis we face: the opioid epidemic,” Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH), one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill, said. “Flexibility and relief are necessary for our communities to continue combatting youth substance abuse, provide behavioral health support, and protect the wellbeing of young Ohioans.”

The legislation has the endorsement of numerous organizations, including the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors.

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