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PRC Project: Evaluation of Local Drug-Free Community Grants
Several local organizations in Cuyahoga County have been awarded Drug-Free Community Coalition Support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), with the goal of preventing substance abuse in their communities, mainly through coalition-building.

The Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods (PRCHN) works with these adolescent-serving partnerships to evaluate their SAMHSA programs. Ongoing evaluation is a required component for each five-year funding cycle, including monitoring of population-based trends in substance use, perception of risk and perception of parental disapproval.  The PRCHN is evaluating the following coalitions:

1.   The Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District and the Brecksville-Broadview Heights Chemical Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) are aiming to address underage alcohol abuse in the Brecksville-Broadview Heights communities;

2.   Bellefaire/JCB founded the Social Advocates for Youth program (SAY Coalition), a school-based prevention and early intervention program in eight high schools in the inner and outer rings of Cuyahoga County;

3.   East Cleveland Bridges of HOPE (Health, Opportunity, Prevention and Empowerment) Coalition is addressing factors in the community which increase substance abuse and to promote factors that decrease substance abuse through a large substance abuse and crime reduction strategy in East Cleveland;

4.   The Shaker Prevention Coalition is comprised of individuals and organizations devoted to the well being of Shaker Heights children.  The purpose of the SPC is to enhance the community through youth development, promotion of healthy life choices, substance abuse prevention, and parental support.

Evaluation of School Based-Curricula
The PRCHN is conducting a mixed-method evaluation to assess the coalitions’ grant implementation and outcomes. The outcome evaluation assesses the actual impact, benefits and changes associated with the activities of this grant at multiple levels including changes in youth, community members, screening services and policies related to substance abuse.  A standard component of this evaluation is the administration of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS).

Other Evaluation Methods
The PRCHN has coordinated an evaluation assessment of the The Brecksville-Broadview Heights CAPA Coalition school-based curriculum as well as their community-based interventions.  Three of these methods are desribed below:

CAPA Coalition Functioning Survey: An assessment was conducted to identify strengths and weaknesses of the coalition so that appropriate improvement strategies would be identified. The assessment was administered to all current members of the CAPA coalition.  The survey assessed: characteristics of coalition members and leaders; organizational/group characteristics of the coalition; roles and responsibilities of members; the processes and climate of the coalition; and the impact and outcomes the coalition’s work has had on the community. The purpose of conducting this survey was to assess the overall functioning of the coalition, in order to learn more about what works, doesn’t work, and how successful substance abuse prevention activities can be delivered at the local level. PRCHN/CHPR developed a web-based system utilizing Survey Monkey for the administration of the Coalition Functioning Survey.

Parent Survey: As part of its SAMHSA grant, CAPA launched the “Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don’t be a party to teenage drinking” public awareness campaign during each school year in correspondence with prom and graduation season. In order to measure the impact of the campaign throughout the Brecksville-Broadview Heights schools, a survey was mailed to parents of secondary school students following the completion of the campaign. The survey assesses attitudes and perceptions regarding teen alcohol use, adult provision of alcohol to teens and knowledge of Ohio’s Underage Drinking Laws.
Community Perceptions Survey 
 In order to assess the total effects of the overall project, PRCHN/CHPR prepared, coordinated, executed, and mailed to a random selection of households, a Community Perceptions Survey, which measured:
  • Community perception and awareness related to the problems of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by teens and adults;
  • Permissiveness of attitudes toward alcohol, tobacco and other drug use;
  • Belief in the concept of prevention;
  • Residents’ perceived difficulty of underage access to alcohol and tobacco in the community; and,
  • Likelihood of community mobilization around this issue.