California Awards Nearly $17 Million for Youth Substance Use Prevention

WHY THIS MATTERS: California is investing in community-based and tribal organizations to use evidence-based and community-driven practices for substance use disorder prevention among youth and young adults ages 12 to 26.

SACRAMENTO — California today 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. These awards are part of Elevate Youth California, a statewide DHCS program addressing substance use disorder. Today’s 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 DHCS Director Michelle Baass. “Through Elevate Youth California, DHCS continues to provide safe spaces where youth have an equitable opportunity to receive behavioral health prevention services.”

HOW GRANTS HELP: These awards are part of a larger effort by the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to strengthen California’s health and human services prevention programs. Elevate Youth California provides DHCS-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.


  • Mary Trimble Norris, Executive Director of the American Indian Child Resource Center: “The Elevate Youth California capacity building grant is crucial to furthering our efforts to support Native youth in the Oakland Unified School District. 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.”

  • Nakeya Bell, Executive Director of SistaBees, a behavioral health prevention provider fiscally sponsored by the East Bay Asian Youth Center: “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. We look forward to cultivating safe spaces for young Black women and femmes to learn, heal, and lead in their communities.”

“When the community sees that the local Medication Assisted Treatment program incorporates the importance of culture and consistently integrates Native context into the service approach, they may be more likely to reach out for help,” said Marlies Perez, Chief of DHCS’ Community Services Division.

ADDITIONAL GRANT OPPORTUNITY: DHCS also released a Request for Application for $714,000 for the Tribal Local Opioid Coalition (TLOC) for project activities from June 2, 2023, through June 20, 2024. TLOC 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 (TLOC) project is funded by the State Opioid Response III grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It is part of DHCS’ broader efforts to address substance use disorders, collectively known as the California Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Expansion Project, to increase access to MAT, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment, and recovery activities. MAT 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. For more information, visit the DHCS website.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: 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. A full list of organizations that received awards is available on the Elevate Youth California website. Since 2020, DHCS has awarded nearly $206 million through 290 grant awards. In fiscal year 2022-23, DHCS 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. For more information about Elevate Youth California partners, visit

BIGGER PICTURE: Governor 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. Read Governor Newsom’s Master Plan for Tackling the Fentanyl and Opioid Crisis.

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