Kansas City Residents Battle Crack Houses, Public Drunkenness

The Fighting Back® project in Kansas City worked from 1990 to 2003 to reduce the harms associated with substance abuse by consolidating existing programs and resources into a communitywide system of prevention, early identification, treatment, aftercare and relapse prevention services.

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

  • Trained 28 residents as neighborhood "mobilizers," who referred approximately 194,000 people to prevention services and about 50,000 people to treatment services, and distributed information on substance abuse to about 500,000 people.
  • Linked community policing, social services and neighborhood mobilizers into a team that worked to eliminate crack houses, public drunkenness and family violence.

Key Findings

  • Use of alcohol among eighth, 10th, and 12th graders in the target area declined between 1996–1997 and 2000–2001.

  • Use of marijuana among eighth and 10th graders in the target area declined between 1996–1997 and 2000–2001; use of marijuana among 12th graders increased.

  • Emergency-room visits for alcohol abuse decreased, and emergency-room visits for drug abuse rose between 1997 and 2001.

  • Drug-related homicides in the target area decreased from 32 percent of all arrests in 1987 to 25 percent of all arrests in 1999.