Joyce Bill to Help Local Communities Combat Addiction to Become Law

Mar 11, 2022
Opioid Crisis

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) announced that his bipartisan legislation to empower local communities in their fight against addiction, the Drug Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act, will be signed into law. Joyce’s bill, which previously passed the House in October of last year, was included in H.R. 2471, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022. H.R. 2471 passed the House on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. The legislation, which also included over $18 million Joyce secured for local Northeast Ohio projects, passed the Senate the following evening and is now headed to the President’s desk.

“With more Americans dying from drug overdoses than ever before, we have to do everything we can to reduce and prevent addiction among our nation’s children,” said Joyce. “I look forward to seeing the President sign this important legislation into law so that we can effectively support those working on the front lines in our communities to reduce and prevent youth drug use.”

Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, the Drug-Free Communities Program provides funding to local coalitions that engage multiple sectors of their communities in order to reduce and prevent substance use disorder among young Americans. This evidence-based and community-oriented program, which was created by legislation authored by then-U.S. Rep. Rob Portman in 1997, has consistently achieved a larger reduction in youth drug use than any other drug prevention program. As of Fiscal Year 2019, the Drug-Free Communities Program served approximately 2.3 million middle school students ages 12 to 14 and 3.2 million high school students ages 15 to 18.

Unfortunately, hundreds of coalitions have reported being unable to meet the program’s local matching requirements due to financial difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Joyce’s legislation would address this unique challenge by temporarily allowing the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) the authority to waive the program’s local matching requirements if the grantee is unable to meet them due to the pandemic.

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