Building Healthy Communities
The grassroots efforts of community coalitions hard at work across the country set a strong example of how states and local communities can partner with the Federal Government to extend our reach and make an impact greater than any one organization working alone.
As I visit towns and cities across the Nation, I have the continuing opportunity to experience this “synergy” firsthand as community leaders come together to build neighborhood coalitions to address substance abuse and mental health issues.
Dr. Eric B. Broderick, Acting SAMHSA Administrator
SAMHSA is an important part of this grassroots effort. The Agency’s mission is to build resilience and facilitate recovery so that we can reach our vision of “A Life in the Community for Everyone.”
We know that substance abuse problems are better addressed locally at the community level because they manifest locally—sometimes, right in our own backyards.
The goal of prevention, however, is to stop substance use before it ever begins.
The Drug Free Communities Support (DFC) program is one of SAMHSA’s most successful coalition-building, prevention efforts in this regard. Working collaboratively with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, SAMHSA is currently funding more than 750 DFC grantees.
The SAMHSA News cover story highlights the success of this grant program.
Engaging young people in positive, drug-free activities takes time, planning, and commitment from a lot of people, not just parents. Local firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers, the state National Guard, shop owners, restaurant managers, coaches, and many others play their part.
Our efforts to reach young people with positive messages now include new media and social networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other innovative, virtual communities on the Web.
We’re working to bring new knowledge and new technology to daily community-based practice. Emphasizing connections across disciplines helps create a larger context for the care of the whole person.
Our work is far from done. While we have made tremendous strides through prevention efforts, we still face a vast public health risk with regard to substance abuse among young people. Community coalitions are a step in the right direction.