Communities Against Substance Abuse believes effective substance abuse prevention requires clear definitions of the conditions in the community that we seek to prevent. Each community or neighborhood is different, with different conditions that increase or decrease the likelihood of substance abuse.
To begin the assessment process, we learn about Individuals and community groups that are concerned about and involved with the substance abuse issue. Once facts are gathered about the individuals and community groups, we survey and assess members’ beliefs about the use and abuse of particular substances. This step is crucial as the data assists with understanding group norms and attitudes that influence individual substance use.
The last phase is to review the environmental conditions that influence communities. Factors include:
- Price of the substance.
- Place (distribution and location) or conditions associated with access.
- Promotion of the substance. (advertising or coverage in the media)
- Actual substance (product) itself.
Examples of existing social indicators include the California Healthy Kids Survey or the local Automated Regional Justice Information System.
Communities Against Substance Abuse is a member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), a national coalition supporting substance abuse prevention groups and coalitions. For more information about the process of community assessment with a community coalition approach, review the CADCA’s publication titled Assessment Primer: Analyzing the Community, Identifying Problems.