An Open Letter Asking CADCA to Increase Evidence Underpinning the Prevention Field

An Open Letter Asking CADCA to Increase Evidence Underpinning the Prevention Field

Thank you CADCA!  We at Prevention Plus Wellness (PPW) think the idea of encouraging Blue Ribbon Coalitions is pure genius for advancing the prevention field.

The Blue Ribbon Coalition recognition began in 2021 as a way to recognize high performing coalitions that do an exceptional job creating a foundation for their work by updating and utilizing their coalition products.

It’s a two-year recognition that opens new doors for coalitions to share their work and become role models in the prevention field. 

We have just one suggestion that would further strengthen the process and outcomes not only of becoming a Blue Ribbon Coalition, but of the entire prevention field.

In addition to using short, intermediate, and long-term indicators of excellence, we suggest creating options for coalitions to use varying degrees of scientific rigor in their evaluation designs.

This could include, for example, demonstrating the use of:

  1. Validated measures of substance use risk and protective factors, actual use (e.g., quantity and frequency), and substance use/misuse problems;
  2. Randomized control or matching comparison group(s) or local data representing a population not receiving the planned and implemented prevention strategies, and
  3. Baseline and one or more follow-up data collections to assess short, intermediate, and long-term effects.

The substance use prevention field is in desperate need of using stronger evaluation designs and the accompanying evidence that would highlight the efficacy of individual and collective prevention coalition programs, campaigns, and strategies.

In addition, we need greater understanding of who benefits from our prevention efforts and under what circumstances.

By including components of controlled evaluation research within the Blue Ribbon Coalition guidelines, we at PPW believe CADCA would be taking an even greater leadership role in advancing coalitions nationwide, while expanding the underlying evidence supporting the substance use prevention field.

Learn more about CADCA’s Blue Ribbon Coalition application process:

Thank you!

Chudley Werch, PhD, CEO

Prevention Plus Wellness, LLC

St. Augustine, FL 32086

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