Town of Hudson / MetroWest Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (SAPC)

Dates: 2016

State: Massachusetts

Client(s): Town of Hudson

Services: Training & Technical Assistance, Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Community Health Coalitions, Healthy Communities, State and Local Public Health, Substance Use

Alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among youth in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, people between the ages of 12 and 20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States, and young people consume more than 90% of their alcohol through binge drinking (for children, this means consuming 3-5 drinks within 2 hours). Underage drinking causes death and injury, impairs judgement, increases the risk of physical and sexual assault, as well as interfering with brain development.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is funding a $300,000, 3-year grant to address underage drinking in a six-town MetroWest coalition (Hudson, Framingham, Ashland, Northborough, Southborough, and Natrick.) Led by a Hudson-based coordinator, this collaborative will work with each community to address underage drinking in ways that serve individual town-level needs. Preliminary research has focused on parental norms, attitudes, and beliefs around youth substance abuse.

JSI has been contracted to facilitate two strategies to close out the research and planning stage of this project. JSI's research findings will be used by the Town of Hudson, which leads the coalition, to inform next steps and planning objectives.

Strategy A is to facilitate a coalition building process between the communities of Northborough and Southborough. JSI engaged key stakeholders from both communities in a series of key informant interviews to discuss their thoughts on the leading substance abuse issues and to gauge enthusiasm and support for a joint substance abuse prevention coalition.

Strategy B is to create, conduct, and analyze a survey of parents/guardians with school-aged children within the communities of the MetroWest SAPC cluster to measure potential cluster intervening variables that relate to parents.