Greater Columbia Fighting Back Shines in Work with Physicians
The overall objective of Greater Columbia Fighting Back, Columbia, S.C., was to reduce the demand for alcohol and other drugs in the greater Columbia area. Richland County, the target area for the Fighting Back® project, includes most of Columbia, which is the state capital.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided grants to the council for the Fighting Back project as part of its national program, Fighting Back: Community Initiatives to Reduce Demand for Illegal Drugs and Alcohol.
Among the activities completed, Greater Columbia Fighting Back:
- Established the Prevention Resource Center, which provided information about treatment options and referrals to treatment programs.
- Educated physicians and other health care professionals about screening and intervention for alcohol- and drug-related problems.
- Educated parents about alcohol and drug issues.
- Established substance abuse prevention programs for teenagers, including an after school program in middle schools.
- Established a small grants program to fund neighborhood prevention projects.
According to a national evaluation by investigators with Brandeis University, which compared greater Columbia to similar cities where Fighting Back was not implemented:
- There were no significant differences between greater Columbia and comparison cities on any of the substance abuse outcomes measured (e.g. alcohol and drug abuse), either before or after the Fighting Back program was implemented.
- Greater Columbia Fighting Back was unusually successful in two areas where most Fighting Back sites put little or no effort: providing information to health care providers; and actively working to change public policy on substance use issues.