March Newsletter
Assessment, The First Step in the Strategic Prevention Framework
Should you Update Your Community Assessment?

As you work through each step of the SPF, you will identify and collect new and updated data. A variety of activities can reveal new data or data gaps:

  • Inclusion of community stakeholders and/or coalition members that were not involved at the time of the original assessment will bring new knowledge around the identified problem and contributing factors.
  • Prioritizing focus populations during strategic planning may require additional data collection about that population and/or different community sectors.
  • Problem solving around program implementation barriers may reveal new information about community risk and protective factors
  • Identifying baseline data to be used in the evaluation plan may bring up gaps in the initial needs assessment.
Each time the coalition collects additional data, they should update the community assessment with the new piece of data. It is important for a coalition to develop a data collection plan . The plan would identify: 1

  • Data to be collected: demographics, consequences, problem, root causes, local conditions, and resource data
  • Data collection methods: quantitative and qualitative
  • Sources of data: local, state, or national sources
  • Frequency of the collection: how often the data is updated or can be collected.
The data that is collected and recorded in the new community assessment will continue to add validity to the logic model as it answers the questions around the problem identified and makes logical connections between the problem and the identified interventions.
What new information have you collected since your original community assessment? Has your assessment been updated to reflect those changes? How have you shared your updates with the community and your stakeholders?

1 Community Anti- Drug Coalition of America Assessment Primer: Describing Your Community, Collecting Data, Analyzing the Issues and Establishing a Road Map for Change
Additional Resources

Strategic Prevention Framework Resources-Assessment
Mid America and South Southwest PTTCs
This site is a collection of resources for the Partnerships for Success Academy, Strategic Prevention Framework Webinar series. It includes upcoming and recorded training, tools and examples from other initiatives that can be used as communities complete each step of the SPF.
Data Dive: Basic Needs Assessment Data Prioritization Example
Pacific Southwest PTTC
Most states and territories, as well as many communities and tribes, use SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) to guide their prevention work. The SPF is a cyclical, collaborative, data-driven strategic planning and implementation process that increases the likelihood of achieving the intended substance-related outcomes (for example, to reduce underage drinking or to reduce opioid overdoses). The first step of the SPF is Assessment which gives the prevention team time to collect and prioritize substance-related consumption patterns and consequences data. Data prioritization in SPF Step 1 is essential in identifying the most important substance-related problem(s) that a state, territory, tribe, or community is facing.
Risk Factor Mapping Tool
PTTC Network
Practitioners working on opioid overdose prevention efforts can use this tool to:
  • Learn more about behaviors they know, or suspect, are contributing to opioid overdose in their communities in order to better target their prevention efforts.
  • Identify new sources of data to supplement those with which they are already familiar.
  • Identify proxy measures (that is, data alternatives) for factors of interest (if, for example, specific types of data are not available at the local level).
  • Identify potential prevention partners (for example, local hospitals and emergency medical services) who regularly collect data on a range of relevant factors

United States Census Bureau
Explore Census Data is the new platform to access data and digital content from the U.S. Census Bureau. makes data available from one centralized place so that data users spend less time searching for data content. You may be familiar with the American Fact Finder site. This site will be taken offline March 31, 2020 and all data will be accessible from this new site.

Video training: Accessing Census Data in 2019: The Transition to
United States Census Bureau
April 9, 2019
With no new releases in American FactFinder after June 2019, data.census,gov will be the primary way to access data from the 2018 American Community Survey, 2017 Economic Census, 2020 Census, and more! Watch this webinar to see a live demonstration of the latest updates and learn how to access data from the new site.

Census Academy: Your Virtual Hub for Learning Data Skills
United States Census Bureau
This site provides several instructional videos, webinar training, and resources with tips and tricks about how to access and use Census Bureau Data. The videos will also introduce you to various concepts and techniques to improve your ability to navigate the new website and use data-access tools.

Evidence-based Resource Guide Series
Substance Misuse Prevention for Young Adults (Page 45, Assessment)
This guide discusses effective prevention practices to mitigate risk factors associated with substance misuse and promote protective factors among: all young adults generally; young adults at significantly higher risk for substance misuse; and young adults who are not diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) but are engaging in substance misuse.
Assessment Primer: Describing Your Community, Collecting Data, Analyzing the Issues and Establishing a Road Map for Change
Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Coalition Institute (CADCA)
This primer provides coalitions clear guidelines for defining their communities and assessing the real needs within the community. This information will enable your coalition to minimize duplication of effort, understand existing resources and implement practices and policies to reduce substance abuse within the community.
What's Happening Around the Region?
Training and Events
Webinar Series: PFS Academy 2020: Making the Steps of the Strategic Prevention Framework Work for You

Each webinar will begin 8:00 PT / 9:00 MT / 10:00 CT / 11:00 ET

The Mid America PTTC, in collaboration with the South Southwest PTTC, will be offering a seven-part webinar series on the SPF beginning in February.

SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) provides practitioners with comprehensive guidance to more effectively address substance misuse and related behavioral health problems in their communities. This seven-part webinar series will explore this five-step, data-driven process to identify genuine prevention needs, build capacity and plans to address those needs, implement effective programs and interventions, and evaluate and continually improve prevention efforts.

At each step of the SPF, and in separate sessions, practitioners will learn to incorporate the guiding principles of cultural competence and sustainability to help support the implementation of SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). 

Certificates for prevention hours will be available upon registration and completion of the webinar.

  • March 24, Part 2: Capacity Building, will guide participants through the process of improving community readiness and increasing the resources available to address prevention efforts.
  • May 19, Part 4: Implementation, will provide participants with the tools needed to implement prevention programs, policies, and practices with fidelity and effectiveness.
  • June 23, Part 5: Evaluation, will offer helpful guides for the collection and analysis of prevention strategies and teach participants how to modify programming for future enhanced results.
  • July 21, Part 6: Sustainability, will provide participants with the elements of a sustainable prevention program and how to integrate sustainability into each step of the SPF.

Drug Endangered Children: March Peer Sharing Call

Date: March 12
Time: 1:00 CT

Please join us for our quarterly drug endangered children's peer sharing call. We will be joined by Eric Nation and Stacee Read from the  National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children .
Identifying Drug Endangered Children: A Collaborative Approach

Date: May 19

Who Should Attend : Child Welfare, Law Enforcement, District Attorneys, Probation/Parole, Treatment, Ongoing Service Providers, Education, Fire, EMS, Judges, Community members, and other First Responders who have a job which impacts children and families.
You will gain  awareness about drug endangered children and the risks they face and understand the many opportunities (often missed) to identify children living in dangerous drug environments. Learn the benefits of intervention at the earliest possible point to reduce physical and psychological harm to children. Learn what a multidisciplinary collaborative response looks like and how it incorporates the unique resources within a community and applies them in a manner that provides better care for drug endangered children .
Drug Endangered Children: June Peer Sharing Call

Date: June 11

Please join us for our quarterly drug endangered children's peer sharing call. We will be joined by Eric Nation and Stacee Read from the  National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children.
Drug Endangered Children: September Peer Sharing Call

Date: September 3

Please join us for our quarterly drug endangered children's peer sharing call. We will be joined by Eric Nation and Stacee Read from the  National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children.
Listen to our most recent podcast!

Podcast Episode 26: DEA's Campus Drug Prevention & Prevention with Purpose
This episode talks about the DEA’s Campus Drug Prevention website and its newest publication, Prevention with a Purpose .
NEW Self-guided Learning Courses
Informing Prevention: Adolescent 6-part Webinar series
  • Informing Prevention: Understanding Adolescent Development (1 of 6)
  • Informing Prevention: Effectively Engaging Adolescents in Interventions (Part 2 of 6)
  • Informing Prevention: Effective Use of Epidemiological Data (Part 3 of 6)
  • Informing Prevention: Effectively Using Technology for School-Based Prevention (Part 4 of 6)
  • Informing Prevention: The Effects of Drug Use on Adolescent Brain Development (Part 5 of 6)
  • Informing Prevention: Vaping Among Adolescents (Part 6 of 6)
Today’s Marijuana: Stronger, More Edibles, Confusing Information about Driving
Early Childhood Development: Toxic Stress and Adverse Childhood Experiences

Online Courses
All online courses can be accessed at:
If you are new to HealtheKnowledge, please log in or set up an account here:
Check out the Mid America Prevention Technology Transfer Center website for additional resources and training!
Mid-America PTTC
The Mid-America Prevention Technology Transfer Center (Mid-America PTTC) is designed to serve as a prevention catalyst, empowering individuals and fostering partnerships to promote safe, healthy, and drug-free communities across Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Our services are evidence-based, culturally competent, and locally focused. We provide intensive technical assistance to support organizations' and systems' efforts to implement evidence-based prevention strategies. The Mid-America PTTC also forms partnerships with local and regional stakeholders to ensure that the training needs of the region are identified and met.

The Mid-America PTTC goals are to:
  • Accelerate the adoption and implementation of evidence-based and promising substance misuse prevention strategies.
  • Heighten the awareness, knowledge, and skills of the workforce that addresses substance misuse prevention.
  • Foster regional and national alliances among culturally diverse practitioners, researchers, policymakers, funders, and the local communities.

To learn more about our services:  Mid-America PTTC
Epi Corner
Assessment: The First and Foundational Step of the SPF Process
Iris E. Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H.
The SPF is a data-driven process. Assessment is the foundation upon which subsequent steps are based. Assessment data is used to inform decision making at each step of the SPF.
The recently published Consensus Study Report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth (2019) provides a comprehensive overview of the complex interaction of biological, social and environmental factors that influence physical, mental and emotional development across the lifespan. 1 The report emphasizes importance of viewing prevention from a broader lens that extends beyond the individual. The authors of the report recognize that coordinated data collection, analysis and synthesis at the individual, community, state and national levels are key elements of an effective prevention system.
Planning and Executing the Assessment Process
It is helpful to begin the assessment process by thinking through the research questions, information sources, and data collection methods that will be required. Brainstorming the questions can also help you to determine what data needs to be collected, from whom, and by what method. Below are some of the questions that may need to be answered by the data.
Determining the nature, scope and severity of the substance abuse problem:
  • What is the prevalence of substance misuse in the community?
  • What drugs are being misused?
  • Who is using? Frequency distributions by age, gender, ethnicity, geographic location etc.
  • Prenatal exposure to alcohol or other drugs (births of alcohol or drug exposed infants, use among pregnant women or women of childbearing ages)
  • How has substance misuse impacted the community?
  • Crime
  • Emergency room admissions for overdose, substance related injuries, or associated violence
  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
  • Overdose rates
  • Drug or alcohol related medical problems (for example, cirrhosis) or mortality
  • Alcohol or drug exposed births
  • Are there certain sub-groups within the community who are using at a higher rate or experiencing the adverse consequences of use at higher rates or greater severity?
Understanding community perceptions, expectations and capacity:
  • How do stakeholders and other members of the community view the problem?
  • How do they perceive the extent and severity of the problem?
  • What alcohol or drug use consequences are they most concerned about?
  • What do they perceive to be the root causes and contributing factors (individual, social, community)
  • What strategies has the community used to address the problem in the past?
  • What did or did not work?
  • What prevention resources already exist within the community?
  • What prevention outcomes are most important to the community members and stakeholders?
In creating the assessment plan, it is important to consider its feasibility based on available expertise, resources, and time as well as limitations or concerns related to a particular approach (for example, concerns about response rates, validity/reliability). It may be helpful to create a brainstorming worksheet to help you think through your assessment plan (see Table 1 for a sample work plan template).

Table 1
Selecting Prevention Targets
The next step in the assessment process is to prioritize the risk behaviors or environmental factors that will be addressed based on the information you have collected about the community. It is important to work closely with community stakeholders during this phase of the process, which involves meta-analysis and interpretation of the data that has been collected and analyzed. Prioritization should be based on the following factors:
  • The magnitude of the problem:
  • What does the data tell you? 
  • Is the data congruent with community perceptions? 
  • How widespread is substance abuse within the community?
  • What are the most serious substance misuse-related problems?
  • The severity of the substance abuse problem:
  • What are the most serious consequences of substance use?
  • What do community stakeholders consider the most serious consequences?
  • Changes over time:
  • What problems appear to be getting worse?
  • Has there been improvement over time?
  • What is the community’s capacity to reduce the magnitude or severity of substance misuse and related problems by modifying identified risks and/or protective factors at the individual and community level?
  • What prevention efforts have been undertaken in the community previously?
  • What strategies have been effective? What strategies are promising?
  • Who are potential prevention partners?
  • What other prevention resources and expertise are available in the community?
  • Are there any potential challenges that might impede prevention efforts?
Once findings are available, it is highly advisable to allow an opportunity for community feedback to ensure that information is sufficient to support decision making. Community feedback can also assist in interpretation of the data by adding “on the ground” observations that may clarify or supplement some of the findings.
The Mid America and South Southwest Prevention Technology Transfer Centers are partnering to offer a seven-part webinar series on the SPF beginning in February. The webinar series will explore the five-step, data-driven process to identify genuine prevention needs, build capacity and plans to address those needs, implement effective programs and interventions, and evaluate and continually improve prevention efforts. At each step of the SPF, and in separate sessions, practitioners will learn to incorporate the guiding principles of cultural competence and sustainability to help support the implementation of SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). For information see:  

1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (2019). Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda.  Washington, DC. The National Academies Pres, doi:
Iris E. Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Iris Smith is Associate Professor Emeritus of Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health where she has taught graduate courses in Program Evaluation, Substance Abuse, Social Determinants of Health, and the Mental Health Capstone course. In addition to teaching Iris also served as principal or co-investigator for numerous studies on the prenatal effects of alcohol and other drugs and treatment and interventions with substance abusing women, including a treatment demonstration grant for pregnant and parenting addicted women and their children (1979-1999). From 2004-2011 she was Co-investigator for the Emory Prevention Research Center and from 2007 to 2010 she served as the lead evaluator for the Atlanta Clinical Translational Science Institute.