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Courtney Announces more than $1.8 Million in Federal Funding for Eastern Connecticut Drug Free Communities and Addiction Intervention Programs

December 11, 2020
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) announced that the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will award a round of federal grants totaling $1,875,000 to support addiction prevention and recovery efforts in Colchester, East Hampton, Ledyard, and Old Lyme. The grant awards were dispersed through ONDCP’s Drug Free Communities Support program, and will provide continuing funding to strengthen infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance abuse.
“Communities in eastern Connecticut are facing a collision of epidemics right now,” said Congressman Courtney. “The opioid epidemic has hurt so many families in our region, and it’s fed on the strained resources and increased isolation during COVID. These organizations are working to save lives—their service is essential, they’ve continued to care for people in our communities even while resources have grown more and more strained, and this new funding will help support their mission. I was glad my office could help support applications for these awards, and I’ll keep working across the aisle to secure more COVID-19 relief aid for the families, workers, and small businesses in eastern Connecticut who need it.”
“This is an outstanding opportunity for our community, and it is reflective of the important work the Colchester Youth First Coalition has committed to carrying out,” said Colchester First Selectman Mary Bylone. “It shows that despite the global pandemic, they are focused on meeting the needs of our youth.  We are so excited to see the work they will be able to do with this type of funding.”
“Good news for the Town, the Prevention Partnership and, most important, the community,” said Easthampton Town Manager David Cox.
“I am honored to serve on the East Hampton Prevention Partnership as co-chair and look forward to our future.  We will make positive decisions regarding the funding of this grant, keeping our youth population informed about the use of drugs and alcohol. This federal grant will ensure our programming, as we work together with our town,” said Barbara Moore, East Hampton Town Council and East Hampton Prevention Partnership Co-chair.
The Town of Colchester will receive a $625,000 grant award to support the Youth FIRST Coalition. The Town of East Hampton will also receive $625,000 in funding to support the East Hampton Prevention Partnership. The Town of Ledyard will receive a $125,000 grant award to assist the Ledyard Prevention Coalition, and the Town of Lyme will receive $500,000 in federal grant funding to support the Lyme-Old Lyme Prevention Coalition. Each of the new grant awards were dispersed through ONDCP’s Drug Free Communities Support program, which was established to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Click here to learn more.
In July, the New York Times reported that drug overdose deaths in America were resurging to record levels, and that the coronavirus pandemic was complicating and perhaps worsening the opioid epidemic. In Connecticut, from January to July of 2020, there was a 20% increase in unintentional drug overdose deaths compared to the same timeframe in 2019.
This summer, Courtney and his staff worked with the towns of Colchester and East Hampton to help secure today’s grant awards, writing to ONDCP Director Debra Houry (MD, MPH) in support of both towns’ applications to utilize Drug Free Communities funding.  In October, Courtney hosted eastern Connecticut health care providers, addiction prevention experts, and leaders in the fight against the opioid epidemic for a virtual roundtable discussion on substance use prevention, treatment and recovery efforts amid COVID-19. On that call, Courtney notified participants of two federal grant awards totaling $250,000 to support prevention efforts in Norwich, Andover, Hebron, and Marlborough.  

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