Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief)
How can the community evaluate the impact of its program on drug abuse?

Evaluating community prevention programs can be challenging. Community leaders often consult with evaluation experts, such as local universities or State agencies, to assist in evaluation design.

An evaluation needs to answer the following questions:

  • What was accomplished in the program?
  • How was the program carried out?
  • How much of the program was received by participants?
  • Is there a connection between the amount of program received and outcomes?
  • Was the program run as intended?
  • Did the program achieve what was expected in the short term?
  • Did the program produce the desired long-term effects?

The community plan should guide actions for prevention over time because community needs change. Therefore, it is important to check program progress and decide if the original goals are being met. Evaluations may offer the chance to change plans and methods to better address current community problems.