March 2007

Grant Results

National Program

Fighting Back(R)

SUMMARY

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.

Funding
RWJF provided seven grants totaling $6,178,301 for this project from March 1990 to August 2003.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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THE PROBLEM

New Haven, Conn., is approximately 75 miles from New York City and 150 miles from Boston. With 127,080 residents, it is the seventh poorest city in the nation, with 23 percent of its residents living in poverty. By 1988, rates of drug addiction and street-level drug trafficking in New Haven had risen dramatically. According to the New Haven Police Department:

  • Drug abuse arrests increased from 784 in 1986 to 2,365 in 1988.
  • Arrests for buying and selling narcotics increased from 837 in 1987 to 1,951 in 1988.
  • Arrests of youth under 18 on drug-related charges rose from 51 in 1986 to 452 in 1988.

In addition, substance abuse treatment providers were operating at full capacity. Substance abuse and related services were available but they were not integrated to provide comprehensive care.

New Haven was one of the first communities in the country to try community policing, which was closely linked to its Fighting Back® program.

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RWJF STRATEGY

Promoting health and reducing the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse is one of RWJF's goal areas. In May 1987, RWJF began a two-year analysis of the national problem of substance abuse. This led to the National Program Fighting Back, launched in 1989 to assist communities of 100,000 to 250,000 people in implementing a variety of anti-drug strategies to address their problems. Fighting Back was a communitywide approach that involved business, health care, the public school system, local government and its agencies, the police, community groups, local media and the clergy.

RWJF also provided funding to Yale University School of Organization and Management to evaluate the city's needle exchange program. See Grant Results on ID#s 019227 and 020049.

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THE PROJECT

The Fighting Back project in New Haven began in 1990 under the auspices of the City of New Haven. The overall objective was to reduce the demand for and abuse of alcohol and drugs in New Haven. The primary strategy was to establish new community anti-drug coalitions and strengthen existing ones and to integrate these initiatives into a comprehensive, community-wide substance abuse prevention, education and treatment system.

During the first grant (ID# 016519), New Haven planned its Fighting Back project, called New Haven Fighting Back. This included establishing a Citizens Task Force composed of community leaders to oversee the project. During the second, third and fourth grants (IDs# 019767, 021715 and 024543), New Haven Fighting Back focused on:

  1. Developing and implementing a community-wide substance abuse prevention, education, treatment and law enforcement strategy.
  2. Strengthening public-private partnerships and developing consumer responsive strategies and practices.
  3. Neighborhood mobilization.

In 1997, the National Program Fighting Back moved into Phase 2, in which program sites focused on their most important substance abuse problems. During the fifth, sixth and seventh grants (ID# 033105, 042011 and 043700) the project focused on:

  1. Reducing drug use and sales and the accompanying social mayhem.
  2. Reducing substance use in high-risk families.
  3. Public policy and awareness activities.

Other Funding

Over the course of the project, New Haven Fighting Back collaborated with government agencies/departments, hospitals, law enforcement agencies, churches, community-based organizations and others. Through August 2003, the project attracted more than $2.4 million in funding, including grants from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration/Center for Substance Abuse Treatment ($1.3 million), the Housing Authority of New Haven ($242,000), the State of Connecticut Judicial Department ($150,000) and VISTA Volunteers ($108,500). The project received more than $7.8 million in in-kind support, primarily from the City of New Haven (for office space and equipment, postage, salary and benefits for one staff member and technical assistance).

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RESULTS

Over the course of these seven grants, New Haven Fighting Back:

  • Established 10 Community Management Teams. These teams fostered community/neighborhood organizing, problem solving and civic participation. They mobilized residents to plan and implement strategies to reduce drug and alcohol abuse. The teams insured community input into the law enforcement system, which had been insulated from the community.
  • Established the Consortium for Substance-Abusing Women and Their Children. More than 50 treatment and service providers participated in the consortium, which coordinated resources and programs (e.g., substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment; post-treatment activities; and transportation) for substance-abusing women and their children. Activities included:
    • Helping member agencies secure grants, including a $4.5 million federal grant for a Healthy Start Infant Mortality Reduction initiative and a $1.5 million federal grant to coordinate services among three agencies.
    • Monthly training for human services and health care professionals who work with substance abusers.
  • Coordinated Beginning Alcohol and Addiction Basic Education (BABES) for youth. BABES is a substance prevention workshop for preschool and elementary school students. It uses puppetry to convey information about drug-free living.
  • 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. Emergency room staff at the Yale-New Haven Hospital Emergency Department identified patients in need of substance abuse treatment and other services, providing brief interventions and referrals as necessary. Project ASSERT served 16,853 people (as of July 2003).
  • Established Families FIRST (Families Involved and Revived Stay Together) for public housing residents. Designed to promote self-sufficiency, reduce crime and encourage a drug-free lifestyle, this program included referrals for substance abuse treatment, child care during treatment, and a male involvement program to support and educate fathers.
  • Facilitated the establishment of the New Haven Drug Court, an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent offenders who abuse illegal drugs. The program included outpatient or residential treatment; judicial supervision; support services; and coordination among the criminal justice, substance abuse, social services and educational systems and the community.
  • Established the Neighborhood Congregations Project, which recruited members of the local faith community to support people in recovery. Fourteen congregations with more than 70 volunteers provided training programs, space for support groups (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous) and other support for people in recovery.
  • Conducted an ongoing public awareness campaign — using public relations and marketing campaigns, a cable television show and fax alerts. Project staff raised public awareness about substance abuse problems through campaigns such as National Recovery Month, a cable television show called Street Beat, and weekly fax alerts to the news media on policy, data and issues, such as the effects of substance abuse among women on children.
  • Helped to establish the City of New Haven Office of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention to sustain New Haven Fighting Back and implement the city's substance abuse agenda. The Office of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention develops policies and strategies to promote a healthy and safe community by reducing the community rates of substance abuse and related harms. At the conclusion of the grant period, the Office of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention was working on a formal plan to sustain New Haven Fighting Back.

Findings

As reported in the project's analysis of alcohol and substance use indicators (2000 Community Report: New Haven Fighting Back):

  • 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.

Communications

Project staff disseminated information about New Haven Fighting Back through reports, brochures, weekly fax alerts and a cable television show called Street Beat. Local media covered the project. (See the Bibliography for details.)

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LESSONS LEARNED

  1. Develop a formal sustainability plan for the post-grant period while the project is under way. From 1990 to 2001, day-to-day operational issues interfered with the development of a plan to sustain New Haven Fighting Back in the long term. Although the City of New Haven Office of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention was established in 2002, when RWJF funding ended in 2003, the office was still working on a formal long-term plan to sustain New Haven Fighting Back. (Project Director)
  2. Public awareness and outreach are key to successfully implementing a community initiative. New Haven Fighting Back used open communication (e.g., community reports, a cable television show, billboards and a Web site) to reduce barriers to reaching project goals. (Project Director)
  3. Resident-driven change is difficult and slow. The target audience was diverse in many ways, including different populations, understanding of issues and what they cared about, and it took a lot of time and energy to form relationships with individuals and develop messages that could get through to people. That process has to be methodical and it is a long-term commitment. New Haven Fighting Back established Community Management Teams to mobilize residents community by community over time. That is how and where real change — if it is going to make a difference — will take place. (Project Director)

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AFTER THE GRANT

Most of the programs started under New Haven Fighting Back continue under the auspices of the City of New Haven Office of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention or other organizations. The Office of Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention now focuses on substance abuse prevention and early intervention. The City of New Haven supports the office by providing office and meeting space and funds for three staff positions. The office or other organizations in New Haven have also received funding from a number of federal and state programs to address substance abuse issues:

  • In 2003, the office collaborated with the New Haven Public Schools on a school program to prevent, reduce and treat alcohol abuse problems by helping youth develop the skills and emotional reliance necessary to promote positive mental health and engage in prosocial behaviors in six middle schools, using the Reconnecting Youth model program. The New Haven Public Schools were awarded a grant in the amount of $744,000 for three years by the U.S. Department of Education: Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program.
  • In 2003, the City of New Haven became a recipient of a Drug-Free Community Grant in the amount of $100,000 annually, and may reapply for up to five years. These funds support the work of the Commission on Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention established in 2002 by the Mayor.
  • In 2004, the office sponsored and supported the forming of the New Haven Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking. This work is partially funded by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention through the State Office of Policy and Management.
  • The State of Connecticut funds the Beginning Awareness Basic Education Studies Initiative which targets children from preschool through third grade.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

New Haven Fighting Back(R)

Grantee

City of New Haven, Office of the Mayor (New Haven,  CT)

  • Amount: $ 200,000
    Dates: March 1990 to February 1992
    ID#:  016519

  • Amount: $ 600,000
    Dates: March 1992 to February 1993
    ID#:  019767

  • Amount: $ 1,082,287
    Dates: March 1993 to March 1995
    ID#:  021715

  • Amount: $ 1,590,013
    Dates: October 1994 to February 1999
    ID#:  024543

  • Amount: $ 1,706,001
    Dates: March 1998 to September 2001
    ID#:  033105

  • Amount: $ 454,517
    Dates: September 2001 to August 2003
    ID#:  042011

  • Amount: $ 545,483
    Dates: May 2002 to August 2003
    ID#:  043700

Contact

Esther Armmand
(203) 946-6438
earmmand@newhavenct.net

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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

Dodge A and Tuhus M (eds.). Resource Guide for Faith Communities. New Haven, CT: New Haven Fighting Back, 1997.

Reports

Keane M. A Report to the People of New Haven. New Haven, CT: New Haven Fighting Back, 1995.

Community Report 1999: New Haven Fighting Back. New Haven, CT: New Haven Fighting Back, 1999.

2000 Community Report: New Haven Fighting Back. New Haven, CT: New Haven Fighting Back, 2001.

Spears R. Project ASSERT, Community Report 2001. New Haven, CT: New Haven Fighting Back, 2001.

Tuhus M. New Haven 2000 Resource Guide on Substance Abuse Treatment and Aftercare Services. New Haven, CT: New Haven Fighting Back, 2000.

Audio-Visuals and Computer Software

Fighting Back, a 5-minute audio cassette. New Haven, CT: Brian Keane and Kim Cloutman, 1991.

Street Beat, 50 60-minute cable television shows on New Haven's accomplishments and policy-related issues associated with reducing the demand for and use of alcohol and drugs. New Haven, CT: Citizens Television, 1996 through 2003.

Survey Instruments

"Baseline Survey, Families FIRST" (Quinnipiac Terrace Public Housing Development), New Haven Public Housing Authority. Fielded February–July 1998.

"12-Month Follow-up Survey" (Quinnipiac Terrace Public Housing Development), New Haven Public Housing Authority. Fielded June–September 1999.

"18-Month Follow-up Survey" (Quinnipiac Terrace Public Housing Development), New Haven Public Housing Authority. Fielded March–June 2000.

"Baseline Survey, Families FIRST" (Farnum Courts Public Housing Development), New Haven Public Housing Authority. Fielded May–July 2000.

Sponsored Conferences

"Relapse Prevention: A Community Response," October 21, 1994, Hamden, CT. Attended by 70 people from 15 organizations, including Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Connecticut Department of Families and Children. Four presentations.

"Fighting Back Through Faith: Drawing on Spiritual Resources for Recovery from Substance Abuse," November 19, 1996, New Haven, CT. Attended by 90 people from 25 organizations, including the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, AIDS Interfaith Network and many churches. One keynote presentation, 18 presentations and three workshops.

"Fighting Back Through Faith II: Responding to the Cycle of Addiction," April 28, 1998, New Haven, CT. Attended by 130 people from 25 organizations, including the New Haven Drug Court, Young Israel Synagogue, the Connecticut Mental Health Center, the New Haven Police Department and many churches. One keynote presentation, 16 presentations and three workshops.

"2002 Reducing Signs and Stigma & Changing Attitudes of Substance Abuse Addiction and Recovery Conference," April 30, 2002, New Haven, CT. Attended by 200 people from seven organizations, including the Atlanta Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Community for Addiction Recovery Efforts, Great Lakes Addiction Technology Transfer Center and Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addictive Services. One keynote presentation and four workshops.

"2003 New Haven Building Bridges: From Conviction to Employment," May 5, 2003, New Haven, CT. Attended by 100 people from 30 organizations, including the Connecticut Department of Corrections, the Connecticut Department of Parole, the Connecticut Department of Labor, Project MORE and Regional Workforce Board. Two keynote presentations, four workshops and two expert panels.

Sponsored Workshops

"Families FIRST Involvement Initiative Workshop," March 13, 1999, New Haven, CT. Attended by 75 people from 12 organizations.

"Prophets and Policy Makers," January 20, 2000, New Haven, CT. Attended by 100 people from several congregations, treatment providers and people in treatment and their families.

"From Prophets to Policy Makers," March 9, 2000, New Haven, CT. Attended by 35 people from 23 congregations, including the Beulah Heights Church of the Rock, Church of Scientology, First Pentecostal Church and Teen Challenge.

"National Alcohol Screening Day," April 10, 2003, New Haven, CT. Attended by 100 people from nine organizations, including journalists and representatives of the APT Foundation, Hill Health Center, ALSO Cornerstone and Latino Family Connection.

Presentations and Testimony

Sergio Rodriguez, "Substance Abuse Treatment on Demand," to the Appropriations Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly, March 2, 1995, Hartford, CT.

Melinda Tuhus, "Billboard Regulations," to the New Haven Board of Aldermen, February 11, 1998, New Haven, CT.

Andrea Riskin, "Testimony in Support of an Act Concerning a Coordinated System of Transportation," to the Connecticut General Assembly's Public Health Committee, February 25, 1999, Hartford, CT.

Esther Armmand, "New Haven Building Bridges: From Conviction to Employment," to the State of Connecticut House of Representatives, April 3, 2003, Hartford, CT.

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Report prepared by: Lori De Milto
Reviewed by: Richard Camer
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Paul S. Jellinek
Program Officer: Floyd Morris

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