The Prevention section of this website is an initiative of the MDC’s Drug-Free Communities Coalition, sponsored by a partnership between the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
What is Prevention?
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), prevention “promotes constructive lifestyles that discourage drug abuse and promotes development of social environments that facilitate drug-free lifestyles. As applied to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD), prevention means keeping the many problems related to the use and abuse of these substances from occurring.”
Prevention efforts enhance protective factors and reduce risk factors. Factors associated with greater potential for drug use are called “risk” factors, and those associated with reduced potential for such use are called “protective” factors.
- Chaotic home environments, particularly in which parents abuse substances or suffer from mental illness
- Ineffective parenting, especially with children with difficult temperaments and conduct disorders
- Lack of mutual attachments and nurturing
- Inappropriate shy or aggressive behavior in the classroom
- Failure in school performance
- Poor social coping skills
- Affiliations with deviant peers
- Perceptions of approval of drug-using behaviors in the school, peer, and community environments
- Strong family bonds
- Parental monitoring with clear rules of conduct within the family unit and involvement of parents in the lives of their children
- Success in school performance
- Strong bonds with institutions such as the family, school and religious organizations
- Adoption of conventional norms about drug use
The Importance of Funding Prevention Projects
What is the Strategic Prevention Framework?
The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) was created by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to assist coalitions in developing the infrastructure needed for community-based, public health approaches leading to effective and sustainable reductions in alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and abuse.
The framework is a five-step process that, when implemented correctly, will elicit positive community-wide change.
Assessments should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure the needs of community are heard and addressed. Community assessments help identify problems, determine particular areas of focus and discover shared resources. During this process, a framework or logic model begins to develop.
In this step, coalitions begin building or increasing coaltion membership while fostering leadership skills among existing members. It is important to recruit dedicated and engaged members to help elicit long term, community-wide change.
As a coalition, members begin crafting a theory of change, developing a logic model and implementation plan. This plan should include short term, intermediate and long-term goals for the coalition.
This is where the hard work comes in. Coalitions have now moved past the planning phase and are now ready to put that plan into action. The plan must be constantly monitored to ensure each coalition member and the coalition as a whole is staying on track.
All outcomes must be measured regularly to determine effectiveness. Some strategies will be deemed effective, while others may be ineffective. This is important information for coalitions in determining which programs, practices and policies to continue and which to terminate. Detailed data collection throughout the implementation process is crucial in creating an accurate program evaluation.