Worcester Has Limited Success in Fighting Back Against Drugs

Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

From 1990 to 1998, Worcester Fights Back, which formed in 1990 under the auspices of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, worked to substantially reduce demand for illegal drugs and alcohol in Worcester, Mass.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Fighting Back® national program.

Key Findings

  • Among its activities, Worcester Fights Back:

    • Helped create two "drug courts" which supervise treatment of nonviolent adult and youth offenders arraigned for drug and alcohol-related offenses.
    • Established FAITHWORKS, which provided training for youth prevention and referral to substance abuse programs and held monthly interfaith services for people in recovery.
    • Established Worcester United Neighborhoods, a coalition of neighborhood group representatives that worked to address drug- and alcohol-related issues that cut across neighborhood boundaries.
    • Helped create a Community Services Unit of the police department.
    • Created "Elders at Risk," a program to inform physicians and other health care workers about elder substance abuse.
    • Created "Spartacus," an adventure/challenge program for youth aged 12–17 who were at high risk for substance abuse.

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