Announcement: HHS Policy on the Use of Appropriated Funds for Promotional Items

News from SAMHSA

SAMHSA is focusing on ensuring that the HHS policy regarding promotional items is adhered to by all grantees. This means that SAMHSA grant funds may not be used to pay for promotional items including, but not limited to, clothing and commemorative items such as pens, mugs/cups, pins/magnets, folders/folios, lanyards and conference bags. Please note that promotional items do not include flyers, brochures and any printed/web based material for the promotion of your Training/TA programs

3.1 General

It is the Department’s policy that OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs shall not use appropriated funds (whether from an annual appropriation, multi-year appropriation, appropriated user fee, mandatory appropriation, gift funds, or reimbursements from such appropriations, etc.) to purchase promotional items when they are not a necessary expense.  

Promotional items include, but are not limited to: clothing and commemorative items such as pens, mugs/cups, folders/folios, lanyards, and conference bags that are sometimes provided to visitors, employees, grantees, or conference attendees.  Typically, items or tokens to be given to individuals are considered personal gifts for which appropriated funds may not be expended.  Only in rare cases – that is, where the OPDIV or STAFFDIV can demonstrate that the promotional items are necessary expenses that directly further its mission – may such items be purchased.  

3.2 Approval Requirements

Any such necessary expense justification must be in writing, explain why the purchase is a necessary expense that is critical to the mission and why the costs are considered reasonable, and be included in the associated administrative file, such as the purchase card request or contract file. 

North Carolina Implications

It is expected that this new SAMSHA Policy may impact North Carolina Substance Abuse Prevention Block and Discretionary Project Grantees. Please direct questions to the NCTTA Center at nctta@ncpreventiontta.org.

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