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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 15, 2019 12:57 PM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton
To: All House members
Subject: Substance Abuse and Demand Reduction Fund
Recent statistics paint a somber picture: Americans are more likely to die of an opioid overdose today than in a car accident. The proliferation of drugs on our streets has had a detrimental effect on our neighborhoods, especially with regards to our young people. When alcohol and drugs are consumed at an early age, the risk for dependency later in life increases. As legislators, we should do all we can to provide our communities with the necessary tools to fight the epidemic of drug abuse on our streets and in our classrooms.

The Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund provides funding for research-based approaches to prevention, and for youth and workforce education and prevention programs. This important fund also supports the Attorney General’s Community Drug Abuse Prevention Grant Program. Half of the fees levied on individuals convicted of drug and DUI offenses are deposited into this fund, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, with the other half going to counties.

Millions of dollars in grant money are distributed each and every year to eligible recipients, but more work needs to be done to better respond to the problem of substance abuse in our schools and neighborhoods. My proposal would make various changes to this fund, including:
  • Increasing the mandatory cost courts automatically access individuals convicted, adjudicated delinquent or granted Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) for violations under The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act and driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance from $100 to $150.
  • Extending this assessment to individuals convicted of other criminal offenses, including; among others, burglary, robbery, theft, retail theft, forgery, assess device fraud, identity theft, bad checks, and several other offenses that are specific to minors.
  • Directing a portion of the money raised to be used specifically for public awareness campaigns surrounding substance abuse and the availability of treatment options.
  • Adding school districts to the list of organizations that are eligible to receive funds. Funding received by schools would go towards providing comprehensive, age-appropriate instruction on substance abuse prevention to students as well as training for staff.
We need to do more to ensure our communities have the resources to combat the proliferation of drugs on our streets, especially when it comes to our youth and the current opioid epidemic. I hope you will join me in supporting these important changes to the Substance Abuse Education and Demand Reduction Fund.

Introduced as HB1218