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NIDA Town Hall Summary

This is a a six-minute summary of the lively one hour discussion which highlights how new scientific approaches combined with commitment at the community level can reduce the chances of children becoming involved with drugs.


Dr. Nora Volkow:

Hello, I'm Nora Volkow.

I Direct the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

And I want to welcome you all to this program where we will be discussing how to empower communities to implement effective preventions for substance abuse.

We now know through science what prevention measures work and we clearly know that prevention of substance abuse and addiction work and it improves the outcomes of an individual's life.

But at the end of the day of course, it is every person's life and you want to empower them with the knowledge that is evidence-based, it is scientific about why it is not a good idea to take drugs.

Mr. Gil Kerlikowske:

The president has made a strong commitment to evidence-based programs.

The science should drive what we are doing.

And so these programs have to have a defined population.

Preventing crime is a real hallmark of a good police department and preventing young people from going down the path of either drug abuse and abuse of alcohol, et cetera, is just critically important.

Local police officers are part of their communities.

Frances Harding:

When we talk about community prevention, we talk about the problems of substance abuse across the country, we're really talking about each community having individual problems, and we focus on the community, and the science supports this because we know that our communities, the people that reside in our communities, know the problems best.

And they also are the best people to be able to come  up with the solution to approach some of the issues.

Dr. David Hawkins:

Communities That Care is an operating system for prevention.

It is not a program. It is a system that, like an operating system on your computer, Linux or Windows, gets you to the right application  or program to meet your needs.

Communities That Care helps the community identify the risk  factors that are elevated in that community.

Then a coalition of diverse stakeholders in that  community use that information on risk and protective factors to choose from a menu of tested and effective preventative interventions that have been shown in controlled trials to prevent these problem behaviors in young people.

We are cutting the initiation of these behaviors by  about a third in the CTC communities.

The benefits to individuals and to the communities that have done Communities That Care in this trial, is that for every dollar that has been invested in Communities That Care, $5.30 of benefit has been accrued because of  less criminal behavior and less tobacco use.

Dalene Dutton:

What CTC has helped us to do is to identify our unique profile risk and protective factors.

Once we identified that, we were able to match our profile with some tested and effective programs.

And then, the CTC system helped us to monitor how well our programs were working and we're really pleased to report they are working very well.

One of the little pieces of data that we have had is that we had a 66 percent reduction in 8th grade marijuana use in our community in just four years, so we are really happy about that.

Phil Roberts:

This is the hub of this five-town area: Appleton, Hope, Lincolnville, Rockport and Camden.

We live in a very mobile society.

While we've got a charming scenery around us, it doesn't prevent drug trafficking from going on here.

[Background noise and music]

Carly Dorskey:

We are like in the middle of no where, so it is hard to like find something to do when we don't have any place to go.

Maria Libby:

Despite all of the programs we have done there are still kids who are using inhalants.

[Background noise and music]

Amelia Mank:

I'm not going to lie. I like cars and hanging out and stuff. But I also really like this.

[Background noise and music]

Heidi Baker:

I think just keeping children working and having an activity is a huge part and that's what Communities That Care really has done here.

Ted Tomita:

We found substance abuse, family management and low commitment to school are three prioritized areas.

Once we implemented these programs we saw that we had some great results after looking at the data again, so we continue our efforts in the coalition.

Esmeralda Blancas:

I got involved with Communities That Care while working as a community health worker for a local community health center.

One of the prevention programs that I taught was called Guiding Good Choices, where I facilitated in both English and Spanish.

My daughter, Christina, she was involved in a prevention program as well called Smart Moves where we taught kids how to deal with peer pressure.

Christina Blancas:

Well, Smart Moves taught me about the drugs and alcohol that are out there, and how they could affect me, and it also taught me how to deal with peer pressure and how to say no to drugs.

Phil Roberts:

That's the great thing about the Communities That Care.

The age bracket that they deal with.

Before that attitude, those behavioral patterns develop.

Dr. Nora Volkow:

We motivate the communities to take action to empower and try to address the issues in the community for substance abuse.

Finally, the big challenge is how do you sustain those prevention programs because what science has told us is that prevention programs to be effective have to be sustainable.


This page was last updated December 2013