March 2001

Grant Results

SUMMARY

From 1994 to 1999, Drug Strategies, Washington, produced and disseminated profiles of substance abuse problems and prevention and treatment efforts in five states and created a how-to guide to aid other states interested in creating their own profiles.

Drug Strategies, a nonprofit research institute dedicated to promoting effective approaches to the nation's drug problems, collaborated in this project with the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, which brings together state program directors to explore issues of common interest.

Key Results

  • Drug Strategies developed a list of indicators in four broad areas — alcohol, drug, and tobacco use; crime; cost to society; and health policies and outcomes — for use in collecting state substance abuse data (see Appendix 2).
  • Drug Strategies produced substance abuse profiles for California, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Carolina and Arizona.
    • Each of the profiles offered an overview of substance abuse issues in the state and detailed data on key trends. To provide context, state statistics were compared with regional and national figures.
  • Drug Strategies produced a how-to guide, Lessons from the Field: Profiling State Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Problems. The guide sets forth strategies to create and disseminate a state profile, identifies key challenges, and offers resources.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with two grants totaling $550,316 between May 1994 and September 1999.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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THE PROBLEM

Early in 1993, RWJF approached Drug Strategies, a nonprofit research institute that seeks effective approaches to the nation's drug problems, about developing tools to assist state policymakers to assess their current alcohol, drug, and tobacco policies. Although the majority of policies and programs to reduce the incidence of substance abuse are planned and implemented at the state level, this project was the first attempt to synthesize state data. At the time, Drug Strategies was completing a national profile of substance abuse-related indicators and federal policy responses, funded by the Carnegie Corporation.

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THE PROJECT

These RWJF grants supported the development of five statistical profiles to help local and state policymakers assess the appropriateness of their substance abuse programs. The goal was to develop a comprehensive profile of a state's existing investments, assess the returns, and help officials make improvements. Drug Strategies collaborated with the NASADAD, an association of state program directors working to develop effective alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment programs. The project received additional support from the University of Minnesota Institute on Criminal Justice.

The purpose of the initial grant (ID# 024010) was to determine the feasibility of developing a mechanism to guide policymakers; the objective of the second grant (ID# 024326) was to develop additional state profiles, to increase dissemination activities, and to create a resource kit so that other states could develop their own profiles. To create each profile, Drug Strategies:

  • Recruited a national advisory panel to guide the project as a whole and to assist in identifying key resource individuals in the states to be profiled. (See Appendix 1 for a roster of panel members.) RWJF staff also provided access to technical experts who were helpful in developing the indicators.
  • Organized meetings in each state that were attended by state and county representatives, service providers, researchers, and representatives of community coalitions, many of whom had not worked together previously. Decisions were made at these meetings about the particular indicators to be used in that state, and available data sources were identified. These state advisory panels also reviewed the draft profiles.
  • Conducted structured interviews with state officials, scholars, civic leaders, and foundation staff members to ensure that an exhaustive review of available data had been conducted. The interviews also helped the grantee institution understand the character of each state agency and its relationship with other agencies and institutions.
  • Contacted and studied state programs related to prevention, treatment, criminal justice, and the workplace, and selected programs with innovative approaches or funding structures to be highlighted in the profiles.
  • Reviewed editorials in local newspapers and studied political and public opinion about substance abuse in each state.

Where sought-after data were unavailable, Drug Strategies looked for alternate sources and extrapolated from national data. Researchers also consulted federal data sources.

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RESULTS

  • Drug Strategies developed a list of indicators in four broad areas — alcohol, drug, and tobacco use; crime; cost to society; and health policies and outcomes — for use in collecting state substance abuse data (see Appendix 2). These indicators were selected from lists identified by experts at universities and other organizations and from statewide indicator efforts in Oregon, Washington, Maryland, and Delaware. The national advisory panel then met to assess these indicators and discuss their accessibility, reliability, validity, and usefulness, and to add others.
  • Drug Strategies produced substance abuse profiles for California, Massachusetts, and Ohio (under ID# 024010), and South Carolina and Arizona (under ID# 024326). The five chosen states together represented every region of the country, populations of different ages and ethnicities, and a variety of approaches to substance abuse problems. Each of the profiles offered an overview of substance abuse issues in the state and detailed data on key trends. To provide context, state statistics were compared with regional and national figures. Although amounts and types of information vary, each profile followed a common format, including:
    • An introduction explaining the scope of the profile and how it was compiled.
    • An overview of the state, which might include section on population, economy, state administration, funding, and legislation regarding substance abuse.
    • Data about use of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs, presented graphically and in text.
    • Descriptions of prevention and treatment programs, including criminal justice programs and workplace programs.
    • Data and policies regarding crime and substance abuse.
    • Information on the costs of substance abuse, including the impact on health.
    • State responses to the problem, including treatment programs and educational programs.
    • Priorities for future policies.
    • Sources of information.
    • Reference charts of longitudinal data.
    In every state, there were significant gaps in the available data. By using a comprehensive model and drawing on numerous types of data, the shortcomings were, to some extent, mitigated, but the result was still less than ideal for identifying longer-term trends.
  • Drug Strategies produced a how-to guide, Lessons from the Field: Profiling State Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drug Problems. The guide sets forth strategies to create and disseminate a state profile, identifies key challenges, and offers resources. Drug Strategies incorporated into this guide its experience in developing the five profiles funded by RWJF, plus three other state profiles produced during the same period with separate funding. The guide instructs states in:
    1. establishing objectives,
    2. securing funding,
    3. designating oversight,
    4. choosing advisors,
    5. selecting indicators,
    6. scouting for quantitative data,
    7. organizing data,
    8. deciding how to use the data,
    9. supplementing and interpreting quantitative data with qualitative interviews.
    Other sections explain how to investigate promising substance abuse programs and how to write and produce a profile.

Communications

Drug Strategies disseminated the profiles and the how-to guide through press releases, press conferences in each state, and direct mail to national policymakers. NASADAD disseminated each of the state profiles to national substance abuse policymakers. Lessons from the Field was distributed to members of the National Governors Association and NASADAD, to state agency officials, foundation leaders, and concerned national community groups; it was also posted on the Drug Strategies Web site.

The profiles generated considerable interest from the media and were featured in major national newspapers and in the local media. The Massachusetts profile, for example, led the nightly news in Boston on the day of its release, and was covered by six local television stations. The Arizona Republic ran a front-page story on the Arizona profile and followed up the next day with an editorial. In South Carolina, the two most prominent newspapers covered the state findings, and four television news programs featured the profile in morning and evening newscasts. (See the Bibliography for details.)

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LESSONS LEARNED

  1. To win support for a project on a sensitive subject, state officials may need to be convinced that the project will be objective and will not cast specific agencies in a negative light. Considerable diplomacy and care were required of Drug Strategies to assure that the state profiles would each offer a balanced view of the state, be acceptable to state officials, and be consistent with the project's goals.
  2. Outside organizations may be able to facilitate cooperation among disparate state agencies. In its role as an outside catalyst, Drug Strategies was able to foster collaboration among state agencies concerned with alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug control, even though staff at those agencies often operate separately.
  3. The design of a publication may be as important as its contents. Drug Strategies supplemented the RWJF grant with $50,000 of its own funds to upgrade the design of the publications, fearing that the value of the research might otherwise be lost.
  4. A high-level, focused communication effort is required to respond to the media and promote a state profile. Drug Strategies handled the media effort for this project through its own public relations firm. States contemplating developing their own profiles may want to consider the use of outside consultants, as state communications offices may not have the necessary personnel or capacity.

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AFTER THE GRANT

Drug Strategies has produced profiles on Kansas and rural Indiana (both published in 1998). Drug Strategies also has completed work on substance abuse profiles for three cities — Detroit, Washington D.C., and Santa Barbara — under a separate RWJF grant (see Grant Results on ID# 031036), and for the city of Baltimore through grants from two local foundations. In addition, Drug Strategies has developed a governors' leadership council, comprised of 11 former governors who are advising current governors on substance abuse policy; the state profiles have been used as a resource at meetings of this council.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

State Statistical Profiles on Substance Abuse Problems and Policies

Grantee

Drug Strategies (Washington,  DC)

  • Pilot Development of State Statistical Profiles on Substance Abuse
    Amount: $ 200,238
    Dates: May 1994 to October 1995
    ID#:  024010

  • Continued Pilot Development of State Profiles on Substance Abuse Problems and Policies
    Amount: $ 350,078
    Dates: February 1996 to September 1999
    ID#:  024326

Contact

Mathea Falco
(202) 289-9070
dspolicy@aol.com

Web Site

http://www.drugstrategies.org

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

National Advisory Panel

Judith Barr, Sc.D.
Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York
New York, N.Y.

Marcia Lillie Blanton, Ph.D.
School of Hygiene Public Health
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, Md.

Peter Fisher
Coalition on Smoking OR Health
Washington, D.C.

Constance Horgan, Ph.D.
Institute for Health Policy
Brandeis University
Waltham, Mass.

Benjamin H. Renshaw, Ph.D.
US Bureau of Justice Statistics
Washington, D.C.

Robert G. Robinson, M.D., Ph.D.
Office on Smoking and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, Ga.

David Rosenbloom, Ph.D.
Join Together
Boston, Mass.

Kathleen Sheehan
National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
Washington, D.C.

Eric Wish, Ph.D.
Center for Substance Abuse Research
University of Maryland
College Park, Md.

Nancy K. Young, Ph.D.
School of Human Development and Community Services
University of Southern California
Fullerton, Calif.


Appendix 2

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Indicators Proposed to State Advisory Panels

Use of Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco

  • Use of any illicit drug for total population by age and sex.
  • Use of alcohol and tobacco for statewide population by age and sex.
  • Percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, college students, and young adults who associate risk of physical or psychological harm with smoking, drinking, and drug use.
  • Perceived availability of drugs by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, college students, and young adults.
  • Percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, college students, and young adults who disapprove of smoking, drinking, and drug use.

Crime

  • Rate of drug positives among arrestees.
  • Number of drunken driving arrests.
  • Percentage of driver fatalities involving alcohol.
  • Percentage of violent crimes reporting drug and alcohol involvement.
  • Drug-related homicides.
  • Street price and purity of heroin and cocaine.
  • Seizures of drugs.

Cost to Society

  • Cost of building prisons to accommodate increased prison population as a result of mandatory minimum sentencing for drugs.
  • Probation and parole costs for individuals in state criminal justice system.
  • Disability payments from Social Security Administration to drug abusers.
  • Health care costs, including public and private drug rehabilitation program costs.
  • Unemployment claimants who have record of drug abuse.

Health Policy and Health Status

  • Alcohol and tobacco taxes.
  • Enforcement of underage drinking laws.
  • Restrictions on smoking in public places.
  • Number of overdose deaths.
  • Number of emergency room episodes.
  • Number of AIDS cases reported for intravenous drug users.
  • Number of babies born (and born prematurely) to drug-using mothers.
  • Number of individuals in alcohol or drug treatment programs.
  • Number of individuals on waiting lists for admission to treatment programs.
  • Cigarette sales per capita.
  • Lung cancer and cirrhosis death rates.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Books and Reports

California Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs. Washington, D.C.: Drug Strategies, 1995. Distributed 3,000 copies.

Massachusetts Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs. Washington, D.C.: Drug Strategies, 1995. Distributed 3,000 copies.

Ohio Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs. Washington, D.C.: Drug Strategies, 1995. Distributed 3,000 copies.

Arizona Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs. Washington, D.C.: Drug Strategies, 1997. Distributed 3,000 copies. South Carolina Profile: Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs. Washington, D.C.: Drug Strategies, 1998. 3,000 copies distributed.

Lessons from the Field: Profiling State Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Problems. Washington, D.C.: Drug Strategies, 1999. 500 copies distributed to date.

News Conferences

Press Conference on the release of California Profile, a report on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems in California and on state policies to address these problems, Sacramento, Calif., September 27, 1995. Attended by 15 journalists.

Press Conference on the release of Massachusetts Profile, a report on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems in Massachusetts and on state policies to address these problems, Boston, Mass., October 18, 1995. Attended by 20 journalists.

Press Conference on the release of Ohio Profile, a report on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems in South Carolina and on state policies to address these problems, Columbus, Ohio, October 23, 1995. Attended by 20 journalists.

Press Conference on the release of Arizona Profile, a report on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems in Arizona and on state policies to address these problems, Phoenix, Ariz., January 27, 1997. Attended by 23 journalists.

Press Conference on the release of South Carolina Profile, a report on alcohol, tobacco, and other drug problems in South Carolina and on state policies to address these problems, Columbia, S.C., June 30, 1998. Attended by 8 journalists.

Press Kits and News Releases

A news release on the California Profile was faxed to newspapers and radio and television stations in California, September 28, 1995.

A news release on the Massachusetts Profile was faxed to newspapers and radio and television stations in Massachusetts, October 18, 1995.

A news release on the Ohio Profile was faxed to newspapers and radio and television stations in Ohio, October 24, 1995.

A news release on the Arizona Profile was faxed to 120 newspapers and radio and television stations in Arizona, January 26, 1997.

A news release on the South Carolina Profile was faxed to over 100 newspapers and radio and television stations in South Carolina, June 30, 1998.

A news release on Lessons from the Field: Profiling State Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Problems was mailed to 50 trade publications and newsletters having to do with drug abuse, state government and policy issues, and foundation grantmaking, August 25, 1999.

Print Coverage

Arizona
"Drug Abuse Soars Among Arizona's Youths," in The Arizona Daily Star, January 28, 1997.

"Meth Use Doubles Among State Teens," in The Arizona Republic, January 28, 1997.

"Youth Drug Use Up, Study Says," in The Mesa Tribune, January 28, 1997.

"Arizona Kids Rank High For Drug Use," Associated Press, appeared in The Arizona Daily Sun, The Brisbee Review, The Gallup Independent, The Kingman Miner, The Prescott Courier, and The Yuma Sun, January 28, 1997.

"Drug Use By Youths Up In Ariz.," in The Tucson Citizen, January 29, 1997.

"Teen Drug Use," editorial in The Casa Grande Dispatch, January 29, 1997.

"Drugs and Denial — Fools Paradise," editorial in The Arizona Republic, January 29, 1997.

"Nation Must Admit Drug Problem," editorial in The Mesa Tribune, January 29, 1997.

"Parents Weak Link In Drug Use," in The Mesa Tribune, January 29, 1997.

"Parents On Pot Can't 'Say No,'" in The Arizona Republic, February 9, 1997.

California
"LA Children More Open to Drug Use, Study Finds," in The Los Angeles Times, September 28, 1995.

"State Urged To Focus On Teen Drug Prevention," in Marin Independent Journal, September 28, 1995.

"Report: Abuse Use Dropping In State," in Daily Press, September 29, 1995.

"Study: Drugs Bigger Lure in LA County than Elsewhere," in Riverside-Enterprise, September 29, 1995.

"Survey: LA Kids Rank High in Getting High," in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, September 29, 1995.

"On the Right Track To Reduce Drug Use," editorial in San Diego Union, October 8, 1995.

"State, Under Wilson, Has Been Proactive in Fighting Drug Use," in San Diego Union-Tribune, October 10, 1995.

Massachusetts
"Drug, Booze, Butt Use Up among Teens," in The Boston Herald, October 19, 1995.

"Statistics: Drug Use Increasing in Teens," Associated Press, appeared in the Enterprise, Daily Evening Item, Daily Times Chronicle, Sunday Eagle-Tribune, October 19, 1995.

"State Losing Battle?" Associated Press, in the Telegraph and Union-News, October 19, 1995.

"Substance Abuse Trend Worries Health Officials," The Boston Globe, October 19, 1995.

"More Mass. Teens Smoking, Using Drugs," Associated Press, October 20, 1995, in Providence Journal-Bulletin.

"Social Ills, Risk-Taking Cited in Youths' Drug Abuse," in The< Boston Globe, October 20, 1995.

Ohio
"Ohio Drug Use Below Nation's," Associated Press, appeared in Akron Beacon Journal, Times- Reporter, October 24, 1995.

"Study: Marijuana Use Rising in Ohio," Columbus Dispatch, October 24, 1995.

"Ohio Substance Abuse Below National Rates," Associated Press, appeared in Daily Standard, Review Times, Galion Inquirer, Northwest Signal, Tribune Chronicle, October 24, 1995.

South Carolina
"Study Lies Crime and Addiction," in The Post and Courier, July 1, 1998.

"S.C. Study Confirms Drugs and Crime Connection; Teen Use on Par with US Figures," in The State, July 1, 1998.

"Study: Many SC Criminals Using Drugs and Alcohol Before Arrest," in The Lancaster News, July 1, 1998.

Television Coverage

Arizona
"Local News," KTAR-AM (CBS), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"News Night at 9," KASW-TV (WB) Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"News at 5," KGUN-TV (ABC), Tucson, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"News 15 at 11," KNXV-TV (ABC), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28. 1997.

"News 15 at 5," KNXV-TV (ABC), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"Morning News 5," KPHO-TV (CBS), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28. 1997.

"Evening News 5," KPHO-TV (CBS), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"Twelve News Sunrise," KPNX-TV (NBC), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"Twelve News at Noon," KPNX-TV (NBC), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"Twelve News Evening," KPNX-TV (NBC), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"Channel 10 News at Noon," KSAZ-TV (Fox), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"Channel 10 News at Five," KSAZ-TV (Fox), Phoenix, Ariz., January 28, 1997.

"News Channel Three," KTVK-TV (WB/CNN), Phoenix, Ariz. January 28, 1997.

"Good Evening Arizona," KTVK-TV (WB/CNN), Phoenix, Ariz. January 28, 1997.

Massachusetts
"WBZ News 4," 5 and 6 p.m. news, WBZ-TV (CBS), Boston, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"7 News, WHDH-TV (NBC)," Noon and 11 p.m. news, Boston, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"7 News at 5:30," WHDH-TV (NBC), Boston, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"The Ten O'Clock News," WLVI-TV (WB) Channel 56, Boston, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"First at 5," WGGB-TV (ABC) Channel 40, Springfield, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"22 News," WWLP-TV (NBC) Channel 22, Springfield, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"WBZ News 4," 12 p.m. news, WBZ-TV (CBS), Boston, October 19, 1995.

"Newscenter 5 Eyeopener," WCVB-TV (ABC), Boston, October 19, 1995.

South Carolina
"Morning Report," WCBD-TV (NBC), Columbia, S.C., June 30, 1998.

"Nightcast," WIS-TV (NBC), Columbia, S.C., June 29, 1998.

"Sunrise," WIS-TV (NBC), Columbia, S.C., June 30, 1998.

"Daybreak," WSPA-TV (CBS), Columbia, S.C., June 30, 1998.

Radio Coverage

Massachusetts
"WBUR News," NPR Radio, Boston, Mass., October 18, 1995.

"WBUR News," NPR Radio, Boston, Mass., October 19, 1995.

South Carolina
Local News, WORD-AM, Greenville, S.C., June 30, 1998.

Local News, WRHI-AM, York, S.C., June 30, 1998.

Local News, WTMA-AM, Charleston, S.C., June 30, 1998.

Local News, WVOC-AM, Columbia, S.C., June 30, 1998.

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Report prepared by: Anne Mackinnon
Report prepared by: Kelsey Menehan
Reviewed by: Marian Bass
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Reviewed by: Karyn Feiden
Reviewed by: Robert Crum
Program Officer: Janet Heroux
Program Officer: Floyd Morris

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