Community Alliance Combats Substance Abuse in Vallejo, Calif.

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

The Fighting Back® project in Vallejo, Calif., worked from 1990 to 2002 to prevent, intervene and treat alcohol and other drug abuse, focusing on local partnerships and strategic alliances to coordinate activities.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol.

Key Results:

  • Helped increase insurance coverage for substance abuse treatment for 64 percent of Vallejo residents through a health care initiative spearheaded by Kaiser Permanente.
  • Collected and analyzed data on the nature and extent of substance abuse problems in Vallejo and disseminated this information to the community.
  • Established Project CONNECT and Project ASSERT, to help get people with alcohol and drug problems into substance abuse treatment.
  • Established two treatment and recovery groups: Recovering Advocates for Treatment (RAFT) (supported entirely with funds from the City of Vallejo, the State of California and the federal government) and the Bay Area Services Network Alumni.

Key Findings

  • Three of the four outcome measures—binge-drinking rates, illegal drug use in the previous 12 months and knowledge about counseling opportunities—moved in the desired direction; only marijuana use moved in the wrong direction. However, none of these findings was statistically significant. (Quantitative national evaluation of Fighting Back by Brandeis University)

  • Among seventh-, ninth- and 11th-grade students, there was a sharp decrease in alcohol, tobacco and drug trial use, especially among younger students, between 1990 and 1999. (California Healthy Kids Survey 2000)