Six States Look to Prevention First in Crime, Substance Abuse

Embedding prevention in state policy and practice as the preferred policy for reducing crime, violence, and substance abuse

Staff at the National Crime Prevention Council assisted teams from six states as they developed and implemented plans to make prevention the standard approach to reducing crime and substance abuse within their communities. The participating states were:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Oregon

Key Results

  • The project team reported results by state to RWJF. Highlights included:

    • The Arizona Prevention Resource Center has initiated a prevention-focused website and other resources for community-based prevention providers.
    • California, through its multi-agency prevention collaborative entitled Shifting the Focus, developed a set of training and technical assistance materials that agencies and organizations can use in prevention efforts.
    • Connecticut's Gov. John Rowland signed the Act Concerning Crime Prevention and established a State Prevention Council in August 2001.
    • Iowa allocates funds blended from several federal and state funding sources to communities for prevention efforts.
    • Kentucky developed:
      • A statewide database on crime, violence and substance abuse prevention.
      • A public awareness plan.
      • A campaign to promote statewide support for its Embedding Prevention in State Policy and Practice Initiative.
    • The Oregon state legislature passed SB 555 in 2000, which called for state agencies and local communities to work in partnership to provide comprehensive, coordinated services to children and families.

Evaluation Findings

  • The Association for the Study and Development of Community (Gaithersburg, Md.) evaluated the work of the individual states: The evaluation team reported that:

    • The backing of state leadership and strong relationships among state agencies were among the factors that supported efforts to embed prevention in state policy-making.
    • The prestige of participation in a national project, the availability of flexible funding and learning from the experience of other state teams were particular benefits of taking part in the initiative.
    • The national economic downturn was a major challenge to the state embedding teams, as it was difficult to maintain political support in the face of significant state budget cuts.
    • The development of new national public information and media strategies is important to public support for substance abuse prevention at the state level.