Coalitions Effective at Reducing Teen Substance Abuse
Many communities in Westchester County have had, have, or are trying to obtain Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grants to fund the efforts of their communities to address underage drinking and substance abuse. In addition, there are other communities in Westchester that have other sources of revenue from schools or communities to fund activities.
There is very good news about the impact of having a substance abuse prevention coalition to deal with underage drinking and drug use. The evaluation was done in communities with DFC grants. However, the results suggest that all communities with some sort of coalition or effort to deal with underage drinking and drug use are making a positive difference.
The evaluation of the DFC programs showed that in communities where there are DFC coalitions, substance abuse rates among high-school students were significantly lower than national rates. The data also showed that while youth drug use has been declining across the country, it has declined more rapidly in communities with DFC coalitions.
The evaluation looked at trends in current use among communities with DFC coalitions and compared the data to reported use at the national level. The analysis showed that current use rates for communities with DFC coalitions declined for all three substances measured (alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco) in grades 9 to 12. Communities where there are DFC coalitions also reported significantly less past 30-day alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use than communities without a DFC grant.
The DFC study found that:
- Current use of marijuana among high school students in DFC communities is 9.9 percent lower than the reported national average;
- Average alcohol use by youth in DFC communities is 23.3 percent lower than the national average;
- Annual tobacco use is ten percent lower in DFC communities than the national average.
According to General Arthur Dean, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, (CADCA) Chairman and CEO, “This research confirms what we have observed in many communities where CADCA-member coalitions exist; it demonstrates that community coalitions are in fact an effective vehicle for reducing drug and alcohol problems.”
Student Assistance Services has extensive experience in assisting coalitions address alcohol and other drug issues on a community level. Our community mobilization services include:
- Community assessment and data gathering
- Capacity building and training
- Planning and strategic development
- Selection and implementation of evidence based prevention strategies
- Grant writing for sustainability