New Haven Fighting Back Increases Substance Abuse Treatment, Decreases Substance Abuse-Related Crime

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

From 1990 to 2003, New Haven Fighting Back® worked to establish new community anti-drug coalitions and integrate these initiatives into a comprehensive, community-wide substance abuse prevention, education and treatment system.

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:

  • Established 10 Community Management Teams that mobilized residents to plan and implement strategies to reduce drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Coordinated Beginning Alcohol and Addiction Basic Education (BABES), a substance prevention workshop for preschool and elementary school students.
  • Established Project ASSERT (Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services and Educating Providers to Refer Patients to Treatment), to identify emergency room patients with alcohol and other drug problems. Project ASSERT served 16,853 people (as of July 2003).
  • Facilitated the establishment of the New Haven Drug Court, an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders who abuse illegal drugs.

Key Findings:

  • Among the approximately 7 percent of New Haven residents estimated to need treatment for alcohol and other drug-related problems, the proportion who actually got treatment increased from 52.7 percent in 1997 to 66.3 percent in 1999.
  • The rate of alcohol and other drug-related crime decreased from 64 per 1,000 crimes in 1999 to 59 per 1,000 crimes in 2000.
  • The perception of safety among public housing residents increased from 37.1 percent in 1999 to 48.7 percent in 2000.