How do community coalitions make an impact on youth substance abuse?
Many community based coalitions, including the Champaign County Drug Free Youth Coalition utilize the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) as a community change model. The Strategic Prevention Framework uses a five-step process known to promote youth development, reduce risk-taking behaviors, build assets and resilience, and prevent problem behaviors across the life span. The SPF is built on a community-based risk and protective factors approach to prevention and a series of guiding principles that can be utilized at the federal, State/tribal and community levels.
The idea behind SPF is to use the findings from public health research along with evidence-based prevention programs to build capacity within communities and the prevention field. This in turn will promote resilience and decrease risk factors in individuals, families, and communities.
The Strategic Prevention Framework Steps> require communities to systematically:
- Assess their prevention needs based on local epidemiological data,
- Build their prevention capacity,
- Develop a strategic plan,
- Implement effective community prevention programs, policies and practices, and
- Evaluate their efforts for outcomes.
Throughout all five steps, implementers of the SPF must address issues of sustainability and cultural competence
Community Change model
Environmental Change Strategies
Environmental strategies are used to change the context (environment) in which substance use and abuse occur. Environmental strategies incorporate efforts aimed at changing or influencing community conditions, standards, institutions, structures, systems and/or policies. Environmental strategies are critical elements of a comprehensive plan for community coalitions to reduce substance use and abuse. The Champaign County Drug Free Youth Coalition is currently focused on addressing youth access to alcohol and marijuana. By reducing youth access to alcohol, we expect rates of underage alcohol use to decline and age of first use to be delayed. Youth have identified that alcohol is accessed through parents, young adults, and alcohol retailers in our county.