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National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research:
Presentations, Papers, and Recommendations


Concurrent Sessions

Work Group on Critical Factors for Prevention Success


William B. Hansen, Tanglewood Research, Inc.
Barbara Groves, Oregon Together, Oregon Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs
Betty S. Sembler, Operation PAR, FL


William Bukoski, National Institute on Drug Abuse

National Conference on Drug Abuse Prevention Research

Barbara Groves

In Oregon, we have a two-tiered focus. We have county prevention funding and resources, and we have local community coalitions, which we call the Oregon Together Project, that began as part of the Hawkins and Catalano research in 1988. We have been doing the risk-and-protective- factor focus framework since 1988 and have been collecting data since that time. We are thinking about using all of the prevention strategies, information dissemination, and prevention education, and we also are looking strongly at collaborations. We do a lot of networking with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Education. We just started this year involving managed care organizations in prevention. We have written into our contracts that managed care organizations have to provide drug abuse prevention services.

We are working on the risk and protective factors with other organizations, including Warm Springs, our largest Native American reservation, which also has a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant. We are working to connect with that community and elaborate on what they are doing at the local level.

Our community contracts and county-based contracts require that they supply us with the prevention framework that they are using. We require all of our funded projects and programs to have an identified structure. It does not have to be the risk-and-protective-factor focus framework, but it does have to be research based.

We also require in our contracts that evaluation outcomes be identified. We require that the projected outcomes be described, and we monitor those outcomes over time. The bottom line is that we are trying to help the communities learn to sustain themselves. As we all know, Federal funding is diminishing all the time, and, certainly, State funding is not great. In Oregon, all of our prevention program funding is Federal funding. We do not get a dime of general fund dollars for prevention. Therefore, we are especially interested in trying to develop community resources. In fact, a lot of our local communities tell us that the dollars are not as important as the other resources we can bring to the table.

New communities that we are working with are the Asian-American and Pacific Islander American communities in Portland. We are having to relearn how to do prevention with them. It is different than working with the Native American or African-American communities, and it does not necessarily fit the social development models. So we are doing some different things, learning from them, and taking our lead from them.

As a State agency, we see our job as bringing the resources to the table and working as a partner. We are trying hard not to dictate and tell everyone what to do and to give them the flexibility. We want to be able to answer their questions, bring them resources, strengthen local capabilities, and truly be a partner with them. We see that as our primary function in addition to coordinating with other State agencies.

We are working with local children, the Commission on Children and Families, and juvenile justice, and they are all talking about risk and protective factors. We are all using the same language now.

We are coordinating budgets, staff people, and evaluation requirements so that one community does not have to report on one contract one way and develop a totally different report for another. We have been working hard on that in the past 2 years.

Collaboration is key. As folks have said, we are not all dancing at the dance, but we are in the same ballroom. Some of us are doing the rumba, and some of us are doing the jitterbug. But we all realize we need to be there together and that there are different ways to work on prevention as long as we all know the basic framework and have the access to the information. I think one of the biggest barriers is that most of our people at the community level are volunteers, but that is the nature of prevention [work].

Most people in Oregon truly believe that evaluation is important. I do not think folks are questioning that anymore, but how to do it is the issue. The minute they hear evaluation, they get confused about research and data and see them as the same thing. When we show our volunteers those slides with the statistics and data, they think, "I cannot do that." We are doing a lot of training right now to teach our local folks how to do evaluation. It can be as simple as a pretest and posttest or can involve more statistical data, but it still scares them. They think they just cannot do it. They do not have the staff time to do a lot of this, especially if they have only a .01 full-time equivalent who is assigned to work on this.

The major question is how to teach community volunteers to do evaluation without an infusion of staff and money and how to do it in a culturally sensitive manner. There are few data on the cultural aspects of prevention. The risk factors may be the same, but prevention programs must be implemented differently. We are learning that in Oregon in our work with Native American, African-American, and Asian communities. It is difficult to develop such programs and track them without more resources and dollars.

There are multiple levels of evaluation. One is to look at drug use; another is to look at what is targeted and whether there is progress in achieving risk factor changes.

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