Santa Barbara Fights Back to Reduce Teenage Drinking

The Fighting Back® project in Santa Barbara, Calif., worked from 1990 to 2002 to reduce the personal and community consequences that result from illegal drug use and alcohol abuse.

The project used a broad-based community collaborative effort to develop a comprehensive system of substance abuse prevention and care.

In its later years, the project concentrated on reducing substance abuse among youths ages 12 to 17. It collaborated with schools, government agencies and departments, the business community and health care providers.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Fighting Back® national program.

Key Results

  • Project staff established a Youth Service Specialist System, placing specialists in secondary schools to coordinate activities after school and on weekends to promote an alcohol-and-drug-free lifestyle.
  • Staff established programs to promote anti-drug social norms and increase the availability of positive adult role models for at-risk youths.
  • The project started the Community Sobering Center and a treatment center for adolescents and their families.
  • Overall alcohol use among ninth and 11th graders in Santa Barbara declined between 1991–1992 and 1999–2000, according to staff.