Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief)
Is the community ready for prevention?

Identifying a serious level of risk in a community does not always mean that the community is ready to take action. Based on studies of many small communities, researchers have identified nine stages of "community readiness" that can guide prevention planning.24 Once prevention planners know what stage the community is in, they can take the next steps for starting prevention programming.

Assessing Readiness Community Action
Readiness Stage Community Response Ideas
1. No awareness Relative tolerance of drug abuse Create motivation. Meet with community leaders involved with drug abuse prevention; use the media to identify and talk about the problem; encourage the community to see how it relates to community issues; begin pre-planning.
2. Denial Not happening here, can't do anything about it
3. Vague awareness Awareness, but no motivation
4. Pre-planning Leaders aware, some motivation
5. Preparation Active, energetic leadership and decision-making Work together. Develop plans for prevention programming through coalitions and other community groups.
6. Initiation Data used to support prevention actions Identify and implement research-based programs.
7. Stabilization Community generally supports existing program Evaluate and improve ongoing programs.

8. Confirmation / Expansion

Decision-makers support improving or expanding programs Institutionalize and expand programs to reach more populations.
9. Professionalization Knowledgeable of community drug problem; expect effective solutions Put multi-component programs in place for all audiences.