Positive Profiling: Substance Abuse Profiles Help States, Cities Improve Their Response

Between 1997 and 1999, Drug Strategies, Washington, a nonprofit research and education institute, created profiles of substance abuse problems in three cities and developed a how-to manual to assist other communities to produce their own profiles.

Key Results

  • Drug Strategies produced profiles of Washington, (April 1999); Detroit, (June 1999); and Santa Barbara, Calif., (July 1999). Each profile follows a common format, including:

    • An introduction explaining the scope of the profile and the process by which it was compiled.
    • An overview of local public and private sector agencies, funding and data resources.
    • Data concerning use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs.
    • Descriptions of model substance abuse prevention programs.
    • Data and policies regarding crime and substance abuse.
    • Information on the costs of substance abuse, including the impact on health; and city responses to the problem.

    A common theme in all three profiles is the need for improved treatment services.

  • Drug Strategies produced a step-by-step guide for other groups seeking to develop their own city profiles, Lessons from the Field: Profiling City Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Problems.