Should Matching Funds Requirements for Drug-Free Youth Programs Be Waived if Grant Recipients Can’t Match Federal Awards Due to the Pandemic? (H.R. 654)
Do you support or oppose this bill?
What is H.R. 654?
(Updated November 30, 2021)
This bill — the Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act — would authorize the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, subject to certain limitations, to waive matching funds requirements that apply to grants for reducing substance abuse among youth. Prior to waiving those requirements, the program would have to make a determination that a grantee is unable to raise funds because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under current law, the Office of National Drug Control Policy administers the program and community coalitions that receive the grants must match a specified percentage of the federal award amount with non-federal funds, including in-kind contributions.
Argument in favor
The pandemic has made it more difficult for many drug-free community programs to raise the funds necessary to match federal grant awards. This bill would allow the matching funds requirements to be waived to allow those programs to continue to receive federal grants.
While it’s unfortunate that some drug-free community programs have struggled to raise the funds needed to match federal grants awards, the requirement that they do so should remain in effect to ensure that they aren’t overly reliant on federal funding in the future.
Youth at risk of substance abuse; drug-free community programs; and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Cost of H.R. 654
A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.
In-Depth: Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) introduced this bill to give Drug-Free Communities (DFC) coalitions more flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic by temporarily allowing the Office of National Drug Control Policy to waive the program’s local matching requirements if the grantee can’t meet them because the pandemic. Joyce said in a statement:
“While we continue to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and rein in the pandemic, we cannot turn a blind eye to the ongoing opioid crisis. Addiction and substance use disorder are unfortunate challenges for so many families across Ohio. Thankfully, the Drug-Free Communities program has helped us combat the opioid crisis at the local level and has made a difference in the lives of countless young Ohioans. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to give this program the flexibility it needs to continue its life-saving work during these difficult times. I urge the House to act quickly on this bill so that we can ensure youth addiction prevention programs have the resources to conduct effective outreach in our communities during the ongoing pandemic.”
Lead Democratic cosponsor Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) added:
“Across our region, we’ve seen local efforts funded through the Drug-Free Communities Program that have played a critical role in preventing and reducing youth substance use. However, these efforts have faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why I’m supporting this bipartisan plan to help make sure that these community-based programs have the resources they need – today and in the future – to help our kids succeed.”
This legislation passed the House Energy and Commerce Committee on a voice vote with the support of two bipartisan cosponsors.
Of Note: The Drug-Free Communities program is an evidence-based, community-oriented program that was created in 1997 to reduce youth drug use.
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: iStock.com / monticelllo)
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