Monday, September 28, 2009

Coalitions preventing underage drinking

According to Join Together, "An ongoing evaluation of the Communities That Care prevention model found that communities that implement the program had significantly lower rates of binge drinking than similar areas nearby, according to researchers at the University of Washington."

This is exciting news for several reasons, the primary one being that the Communities That Care (CTC) model is very similar to the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), the model used by the Prevention Works In Seattle coalition in NE Seattle.

In the Join Together article, David Hawkins from the University of Washington's Social Development Research Group is quoted, "This study shows we can prevent adolescent risk behaviors community wide by using this system. What makes this system different from other prevention efforts is that it provides community coalitions with scientifically based tools with which to make decisions based on what is important to each town. The key is empowering each community to make scientifically grounded decisions about what programs thy need. That builds ownership."

What this study shows is that when communities come together to address an issue that is putting their children at risk, in our case at risk for problems associated with underage drinking, and they are given the tools to assess the problem and then implement evidence-based prevention programs to meet their specific needs, they can be successful. Since our community is following a model similar to CTC, this gives great hope to our coalition that our prevention efforts will reduce our high underage drinking rates.

Here are a few links about the CTC study and it success:

Prevention Town Hall Meeting -- a video archive from September 9 in which David Hawkins talks about CTC

Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Maine Town Dramatically Cuts Drug Use (ABC News)

Coalition progress exceeds Washington's expectations (Prevention Action)

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