$625,000 to WA to Help Keep Kids Away From Fentanyl and Other Drugs

Community coalitions aiming to prevent youth substance use in Spokane, Tacoma, Yakima, Sedro-Woolley, and Klickitat County all receive $125K grants

EDMONDS, WA – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) announced that five community coalitions in the State of Washington will each receive $125,000 federal grants in this round of funding to help prevent youth substance use in their communities. Each coalition is set to receive a total of $625,000 over the next 5 years.

The grants come from the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, which is funded and directed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). DFC-funded coalitions develop data-driven, community-wide strategies to reduce youth substance use. The program has been shown to decrease youth substance abuse significantly among middle and high school students. This includes a 31.6% reduction of prescription drug use among high school students.

"In the roundtables I've held across the state this summer about the fentanyl crisis, I've heard directly from parents who tragically lost their children to fentanyl, and young people who lost friends and family to this lethal drug,” said Sen. Cantwell. “Our communities desperately need more resources to prevent youth substance abuse. Additional funding to these five evidence-based programs will help them educate more children across our state about the dangers of fentanyl and other drugs.”

The five organizations receiving the $125,000 awards are:

West Spokane Wellness Partnership

At Sen. Cantwell’s roundtable in Spokane, participants spoke about the need for more education for high school students about the harmful effects of drugs. Among the West Spokane Wellness Partnership’s goals are decreasing opioid misuse and abuse by increasing the number of adults and youth in West Central Spokane who know about opioids and how to safely store, manage, and dispose of them.

SAFE Yakima REACH Coalition

Safe Yakima Valley Executive Director Alicia Stromme Tobin participated in Sen. Cantwell’s Yakima roundtable last week. The organization’s goal is to establish and strengthen community collaboration in support of local efforts to prevent youth substance.

Prevent! Tacoma Drug-Free Community Coalition

At Sen. Cantwell’s May fentanyl roundtable in Tacoma, participants identified prevention resources as an area in need of support, as well as support in schools, youth-serving organizations, and family organizations. Prevent! Tacoma Drug-Free Community Coalition’s strategies to reduce youth substance use include life skills training in schools and parenting training.

Sedro-Woolley RISE

Sedro-Woolley RISE is a community based organization comprised of youth, parents, schools, healthcare professionals, schools, law enforcement and more to address community risk factors including youth substance use.

Our Klickitat

Our Klickitat will support the county’s most at-risk youth by partnering with CultureSeed, a local youth-serving organization, and by expanding One Community Health’s rural outreach.

Nationwide, ONDCP announced 164 new Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program awards for FY 2023, representing an investment by the Biden Administration of approximately $20.5 million in youth substance use prevention in communities across the country.

Sen. Cantwell has been conducting a listening tour across Washington state to hear from people on the front lines of the fentanyl crisis. She has made nine stops on the tour so far. In May, Sen. Cantwell hosted a fentanyl crisis roundtable discussion in Pierce County followed by a second roundtable discussion in Snohomish County in June; in July, she convened a roundtable in the Tri-Cities, a roundtable in downtown Seattle and a roundtable in Spokane. Last month, Sen. Cantwell hosted roundtables in Vancouver, WA, Port Angeles, Walla Walla, and Yakima.

In July, the Senate passed the FEND Off Fentanyl Act as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill, which Sen. Cantwell cosponsored, would enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl. It also declares international trafficking of fentanyl, and the precursors used to make it, a national emergency.

In May, Sen. Cantwell led a Commerce Committee markup of S. 1280, the TRANQ Research Act, to help combat the rise in illicit use of xylazine, also known as tranq, which is a new dimension to the fentanyl crisis. It directs the National Institute of Standards and Technology to take steps to enhance understanding of xylazine or tranq and other novel synthetic drugs, develop new tests for detection, and establish partnerships with front-line entities that are often the first points of contact with new street drugs. Sen. Cantwell is a cosponsor of that bipartisan bill, and also cosponsored similar bipartisan language to amend a bill that subsequently passed the Senate by unanimous consent in June.