CA awards nearly $17 million for Youth Substance Use Prevention

By SDCN Editor

Sacramento, CA–California Tuesday awarded nearly $17 million to 44 community-based and tribal organizations to develop and increase substance use disorder prevention services through civic engagement and culturally competent programs. 

The awards are part of Elevate Youth California, a statewide Department of Health Care Services program addressing substance use disorder. The investments will help grassroots community-based and tribal organizations develop substance use prevention services for young people living in communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.

“California is committed to reaching young people struggling with substance use and mental health challenges where they are, with the resources they need to get healthy,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We’re investing in our community partners who work day in and day out to help vulnerable youth access the quality, culturally-competent services they need and deserve.”

“Youth substance use and mental health challenges are at an all-time high in California, especially for youth of color and 2S/LGBTQ+ youth,” said Department of Health Care Services Director Michelle Baass. “Through Elevate Youth California, Department of Health Care Services continues to provide safe spaces where youth have an equitable opportunity to receive behavioral health prevention services.”

These awards are part of a larger effort by the Health Care Services to strengthen California’s health and human services prevention programs. Elevate Youth California provides services-funded grants to grassroots community-based and tribal organizations that will:

  • Empower youth to create policy and systems change through civic engagement.
  • Implement culturally and linguistically proficient youth development, peer support, and mentoring programs that are healing-centered and trauma-informed.
  • Prioritize harm reduction and public health solutions that create resiliency and prevent substance use disorder.

“The Elevate Youth California capacity building grant is crucial to furthering our efforts to support Native youth in the Oakland Unified School District,” said Mary Trimble Norris, executive director of the American Indian Child Resource Center. “This funding broadens our organization’s reach and substance prevention efforts that will support youth well-being. Our goal is to build equity and youth activism in schools through heritage gardens that honor the lived experiences of Native youth and preserve culture and traditional healing practices.”

The Health Care Services also released a Request for Application for $714,000 for the Tribal Local Opioid Coalition for project activities from June 2, 2023, through June 20, 2024. The coalition works to address the opioid crisis in California tribal communities through multisector, interagency partnerships of community members, stakeholders, and service providers working together to reduce and eliminate the impacts of opioid and stimulant use in tribal communities.

The Tribal Local Opioid Coalition project is funded by the State Opioid Response III grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is part of Health Care Services’ broader efforts to address substance use disorders, collectively known as the California Medication Assisted Treatment Expansion Project, to increase access to the project, reduce unmet treatment needs, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. The treatment is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, which is effective in the treatment of opioid use disorders and can help some people sustain recovery. 

Elevate Youth California will grant up to $400,000 to each organization focused on substance use prevention to strengthen its operational, programmatic, financial, or organizational infrastructure. 

Since 2020, the Department of Health Care Services has awarded nearly $206 million through 290 grant awards. In fiscal year 2022-23, the agency has invested more than $139.9 million in funding to support statewide prevention programs, with approximately $58.8 million in primary prevention funding allocated to county behavioral health agencies through the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant, $3.8 million in funding to support statewide implementation of the California Friday Night Live program, and $76.3 million allocated in local assistance funds from Proposition 64 to support Elevate Youth California. 

“This funding is a dream come true for our organization. The opportunity to receive this capacity-building funding to deepen our work and spread love, power, and care to our amazing young Black women and femmes across the Sacramento region will elevate our behavioral health prevention services,” said Nakeya Bell, Executive Director of SistaBees, a behavioral health prevention provider fiscally sponsored by the East Bay Asian Youth Center. “We look forward to cultivating safe spaces for young Black women and femmes to learn, heal, and lead in their communities.”

Newsom has invested more than $1 billion to crack down on opioid trafficking and enforce the law, combat overdoses, support those with opioid use disorder, and raise awareness about the dangers of opioids.



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