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ATOD Prevention Planning Tutorial - Step 3

Step 3: Identifying and Implementing Interventions

The third step in the prevention planning process involves identifying available research- and/or science-based prevention programs that address the problems defined and the risk and protective factors identified in Steps 1 and 2. Your examination of information from the Community Youth Survey and the Social Indicator Study allows you to base the identification of prevention programs on the programs' demonstrated effectiveness in addressing the specific risk and protective factors identified for your community. Step 3 also involves identifying available resources, gaps, and ineffective programs by conducting a community resource assessment.

In selecting prevention programs to address identified risk and protective factors, you should select programs that are known as best practice or promising practice programs. Best practices are those strategies and programs that are deemed research-based by scientists and researchers at the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA); the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP); the National Center for the Advancement of Prevention (NCAP); the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These strategies and programs have been shown through substantial research and evaluation to be effective at preventing and/or delaying substance abuse. Promising practices are programs and strategies for which there are quantitative data showing positive outcomes in delaying substance abuse over a period of time, but for which not enough research exists to support generalizable outcomes.


Web sites for identifying available research- and/or science-based programs include CSAP, and the Center for the Application of Prevention Technologies (Central CAPT, Southeast CAPT , and Western CAPT). The Western CAPT Web site includes a section that allows prevention planners to conduct a search for best and promising practices based on community-specific risk and protection factors.

Once you have identified prevention programs that address your priority risk and protective factors, write down the program titles and sources for obtaining them. Locate descriptions of these programs, using the above Web sites or through other methods, and review the descriptions to ensure that the programs are appropriate for your community. Then, you can conduct a community resource assessment.

Assessing Community Resources

A resource assessment is an examination of the current resources in your community. The resources that are the focus of the assessment are those targeted to reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors for youth. Completing this part of the prevention planning process will help ensure that you are using your resources in a way that will have the greatest impact. Resource assessment results will help you understand which agencies and organizations are addressing which risk and protective factors in your locality or Health Planning Region (HPR) and doing so effectively.

Conduct your resource assessment with state-level prevention program administrators and/or directors of community prevention programs such as the following:

  • Supervised after-school recreation programs;

  • Drug-free social and recreational activities, such as drug-free dances;

  • Youth adventure-based programs;

  • Prenatal-infancy family-focused programs;

  • Early childhood education programs;

  • Parenting/family management training;

  • School-based and school-focused programs, such as behavior management;

  • Community mobilization programs, such as those engaged in coalition building; and

  • Community policing programs.

For examples of two types of resource assessment surveys that you can use or adapt for your community—one for use with state-level program administrators and one for use with local program representatives—select the Virginia Community Resource Assessment—State-Level Prevention Program Administrators or Virginia Community Resource Survey—Program Director.

After you conduct your resource assessment, examine the information received to determine which agencies and organizations are addressing which risk and protective factors in your locality/HPR, which risk and protective factors are not addressed by community programs, and which programs are not effective in addressing the risk and protective factors they are targeting—such as programs that are designed to reduce risk factors for which Community Youth Survey and/or Social Indicator Study information reveal no reduction has been accomplished. With this information, as well as the information regarding ATOD best/promising practices prevention programs, you are ready to select the program or programs that you will implement. Obtain the program materials and arrange for training on program implementation, when appropriate, for your community program facilitators.

This concludes the ATOD Prevention Planning Tutorial for Virginia Prevention Planners. For further information, contact Mary Shawver, M.S., M.Ed., Substance Abuse Prevention Evaluation Manager, DMHMRSAS.

To return to the top of the tutorial home page, click here.

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