Throughout the United States, community coalitions make a significant difference in the communities in which they serve. Local coalitions continue to change the way American communities respond to the threats of illegal drugs, alcohol abuse and tobacco use. By mobilizing the entire community – parents, teachers, youth, police, health care providers, faith communities, business and civic leaders and others – communities can transform themselves.
What is a coalition?
Coalitions are a formal arrangement for collaboration among groups or sectors of a community, in which each group retains its identity but all agree to work together toward the common goal of a safe, healthy and drug-free community – serving as a catalyst for reducing local substance abuse rates. They are not traditional human services organizations that provide direst services, but rather they are groups directed by local residents and sector representatives who have a genuine voice in determining the best strategies to address local problems.
Coalitions work hard to connect with community members at a grassroots level. Federal grant recipients must show a minimum of 12 community sectors participating in their group. Coalitions incorporate evidence-based approaches when developing their strategic plans, focusing on improving systems and environments within their local community. Substance abuse impacts all socio-economic levels, although in greatly varying ways. Population-level change requires a significant mind shift in changing community norms. In many cases, coalitions find themselves attempting to change practices and policies that have been in place for decades.
Our coalition strives to be a place where people know that they impact community resources to address underage drinking and drug use.