Community Coalitions and Addiction

There was an explosion in America in the 1980s of crack cocaine, one that surprised and astounded many people. Many communities were not ready for the onslaught of people that became nearly overnight addicted to this opiate killer.

Because of the sheer amount and the number of people that were being affected, many communities began to arm themselves, both by being more informed, and slowly anti drug coalitions began to form around the United States, and Canada. The anti Drug community movement grew slowly, but it grew successfully even so. Dealing with Drug Addiction Treatment has been a challenge for most communities in America.

In 1990 there was a national gathering, the first of its kind in Washington, D.C. that drew people from 172 different American Cities. From this first group of 450 people there was created a new group, called the Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America, or CADCA for short. It soon became the national voice that has been representative of the emerging small community coalitions that have been forming around the United States.

Another national anti drug group, called the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation did early work in an initiative that they started called Fighting Back. It encouraged communities to answer the question: Can we reduce illegal drugs and alcohol in our community by working together as a single community unit, combining aftercare, Drug Addiction Treatment, and prevention?

In its first year they gave out grants to 14 cities that had less than a quarter million people. Fighting Back, the program itself has grown to more than $71 million dollars and birthed an additional anti Drug organization called Join Together.

Join Together has largely taken over the reins from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, they now provide much of the national program office leadership for the remaining leadership anti drug coalitions scattered around the country. It is now the national leadership group for much of the overall Drug Addiction Treatment efforts nationally in America.

The Federal Government provided support early on with a Community Partnership Demonstration Grant Program, directed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. It was not renewed by Congress and expired in 1996.

There are a number of different methods that Community Coalitions can be successful in Drug Addiction Treatment. Most of all, they can mobilize and form grassroots organizations, to form and establish an attack plan to deal with illegal drugs. Treatment is a key element, and more and more communities are beginning to get in on the treatment bandwagon.

Not all treatment is created equal when it comes to Drug Addiction Treatment facilities. Most facilities are successful to some extent, but there are programs that simply go above and beyond, and are very successful, and some that appear to phone in their efforts.

The key is for communities to be able to create Drug Addiction Treatment programs that are very effective, and that is the challenge that faces cities and towns across America.

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