Chapel Hill, NC: Community anti-drug coalitions appear ineffective at reducing substance abuse in targeted populations, according to findings published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The study evaluated the strategies and performance of "Fighting Back," a private program that awards $72 million in block grants to five citywide anti-drug coalitions. Authors noted that although the coalitions are "intuitively attractive and politically popular," the programs failed to show positive results.
"Strategies aimed at either youth or community/prevention outcomes showed no effects, while strategies to improve adult-focused outcomes showed significant negative effects over time, compared to matched controls," authors concluded. In addition, "Coalitions with a more comprehensive array of strategies did not show any superior benefits, and increasing the number of high-dose strategies showed a significant negative effect on overall outcomes."
Researchers noted that performance evaluations of large-scale, anti-drug coalition programs are a "critical but neglected aspect of prevention research."
Last year the federal government budgeted over $50 million to fund community anti-drug coalitions.
For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. Abstracts of study, "Fighting back against substance abuse: Are community coalitions winning, are available online via the PubMed search engine at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/