Join Together: A National Resource Center

Providing technical assistance to local substance abuse initiatives

Dates of the Project: April 1991 to February 2012

Field of Work: substance abuse prevention and treatment

Problem Synopsis: With substance abuse on the rise in the 1980s, coalitions of concerned citizens formed across the country. RWJF’s Fighting Back national program, and the federal Community Partnership Demonstration Grant, provided some support for their efforts. However, community groups unaffiliated with these initiatives lacked a central source of assistance, and operated in isolation from one another.

Synopsis of the Work: Based at Boston University, Join Together was a national resource center for local substance abuse initiatives, and promoted public policies that enhance the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of substance abuse, including drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In 2011 the Partnership for a Drug-Free America (doing business as the Partnership at Drugfree.org) integrated Join Together publications into a new interactive portal and began adding features and commentary.

Key Results: Join Together developed extensive electronic and print resources, including a daily and weekly e-mail news service and a website that received 2 million distinct site visitors annually by 2010. The organization also provided technical assistance to community groups, and leadership training to more than 220 fellows from an array of professions.

In 2003 Join Together launched the Demand Treatment! initiative, awarding $60,000 grants to coalitions in 29 cities and counties, and providing other resources to remove stigma from substance abuse, spur demand for treatment, and lower barriers to expanding and improving treatment.

Demand Treatment! communities increased the use of screening and brief intervention in clinical settings, launched public awareness campaigns, engaged local leaders and public officials, increased available treatment options, and generated or redirected more than $125 million in public and philanthropic funds for expanding treatment.

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