Our five-part opioid epidemic blog series will offer communities best practices on applying prevention principles, assessing needs and community readiness, motivating the community to take action, and evaluating the impact of programs implemented. Join us every day this week to learn how communities can implement research-based prevention programs.
Part 4: How to Motivate Your Community to Implement Research-Based Prevention Programs
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The methods needed to motivate a community to act depend on the particular community’s stage of readiness. At lower stages of readiness, individual and small group meetings may be needed to attract support from those with great influence in the community. At higher levels of readiness, it may be possible to establish a community board or coalition of key leaders from public- and private-sector organizations. This can provide the impetus for action.
Community coalitions can and do hold communitywide meetings, develop public education campaigns, present data that support the need for research-based prevention programming, and attract sponsors for comprehensive drug abuse prevention strategies.
But care is needed in organizing a community-level coalition to ensure that its programming incorporates research-tested strategies and programs—at the individual, school, and community levels. Having a supportive infrastructure that includes representatives across the community can reinforce prevention messages, provide resources, and sustain prevention programming. Introducing a school-based curriculum, however, requires less community involvement, but is still a focused preventive effort.
Research has shown that prevention programs can use the media to raise public awareness of the seriousness of a community’s drug problem and prevent drug abuse among specific populations. Using local data and speakers from the community demonstrates that the drug problem is real and that action is needed. Providing some of the examples of research-based programs described on day three of the blog series can help mobilize the community for change.
Join us tomorrow for part five for tips on how your community can assess the effectiveness of current prevention efforts and don't forget to attend NACo's virtual town hall series on the local response to the opioid crisis.
*Content from this blog post has been extracted from the National Institute on Drug Abuse Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents: A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators, and Community Leaders; 2nd Edition.