Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief)
How can the community assess the effectiveness of current prevention efforts?

Many communities begin the process with a review of current prevention programs to determine:

  • What programs are in place in the community?
  • Were strict scientific standards used to test the programs during their development?
  • Do the programs match community needs?
  • Are the programs being carried out as designed?
  • What percentage of at-risk youth is being reached by the programs?

Another evaluation approach is to track data over time on drug abuse among students in school, rates of truancy, school suspensions, drug abuse arrests, and drug-related emergency room admissions. Data from community drug abuse assessments can serve as a baseline for measuring change. Because drug abuse problems change with time, periodic assessments can ensure that programs are meeting current community needs.

Community Action Box

Parents can work with others in their community to increase awareness about the local drug abuse problem and the need for research-based prevention programs.

Educators can work with others in the school system to review current programs and identify research-based prevention interventions geared toward students.

Community leaders can organize a community group to develop a community prevention plan, coordinate resources and activities, and support research-based prevention in all sectors of the community.