Online Program

Gaps in substance abuse and alcohol services: Community planning and evaluation

Monday, November 4, 2013

Brenda Seals, PhD, MPH, Rides Over Mountains Consulting, Hightstown, NJ
Spero Manson, PhD, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO
Perry Ahsogeak, BHS, FNA Behavioral Health, Fairbanks Native Association, Fairbanks, AK
Background: Without a limited economy and few new programs for substance alcohol abuse services, community based coalitions are pressed to strategically maximize resources. To this end the Fairbanks Prevention Coalition is the lead for efforts to identify gaps.

Method: In 2012, the Fairbanks Community Resource Guide was used to generate a sample of agencies whose clients may in some way be alcohol or substance users. Thirty-four unique agencies were contacted and 33 completed a description of their services and offered ideas about gaps in services. Some agencies had 3 or more other agencies under their umbrella.

Results: Participant identified gaps included: 1) Young adult programs focused on jobs and social activities; 2) Good jobs for former prisoners; 3) Services for those newly sober; 4) More mental health providers; and 5) outreach to those who periodically come to Fairbanks from surrounding communities. Participants proudly talked of new programs such as expanded housing opportunities for substance abusers but were unsure if this was enough to fill the need. Some participants emphasized the need to better coordinate between agencies such as the courts and substance abuse programs to better support newly sober clients.

Conclusions: Prevention suggestions focused on social activities and jobs, gaps existing in many rural and urban areas. Improving sobriety support in its early stages was seen as important “wrap around” for preventing re-occurrences. Community planning best practices depend on evaluation for strategic use of scarce resources. Public opinions about substance use is critical to attract local funding.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
List at least three gaps in substance services Describe policy options and resources needed to meet gaps. Explain how new options in health reform may apply to filling gaps. Discuss the importance of CBPR community health planning and health disparities.

Keyword(s): Substance Abuse, Planning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 30 years of experience evaluating public health programs and disseminating best practices. The community based planning and practices we have been documenting are important for Native Americans disproportionately affected by alcohol and substance use, especially in Alaska.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.