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Commonly Used Phrases

Capacity Building

Capacity building refers to activities conducted to improve the ability of an organization or community to deliver substance abuse prevention services, such as improving organizational resources; improving awareness about substance abuse problems; building new relationships or strengthening existing relationships among coalitions, groups, and organizations involved in substance abuse prevention; and working to ensure prevention intervention activities and outcomes continue after funding ends.

Community Coalition

A community coalition is a group of stakeholders who represent diverse organizations, constituencies, and community members who agree to work together to achieve a common goal to reduce alcohol abuse.

Community Needs & Resource Assessments

Community needs and resources assessments examine needs external to the organization and include community readiness, rates of substance use and consequences, prevention resources (e.g., call centers and trained counselors), partnerships, community prevention experience, and other monetary and non-monetary resources.

Cultural Competence

Cultural competence is paying careful attention to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for working with diverse populations. This includes an understanding of a group’s language, beliefs, norms, and values, as well as socioeconomic and political factors that may have a significant impact on their well-being, and incorporating those variables into programs. It also means that the various populations within the geographic area should be participants or, at the very least, be represented throughout the SPF process.

Cultural Competency can also be defined as “A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals and enable that system, agency, or those professionals to work effectively in cross-cultural situations,” from HRSA/DHHS Indicators of Cultural Competence in Health Care Delivery Organizations: An Organizational Cultural Competence Assessment Profile (Lewin Group, Inc., April 2002). Cultural competence is a major component of the Strategic Prevention Framework.

Community Readiness

Community readiness is the community's level of awareness of, interest in, and ability and willingness to support substance abuse prevention initiatives. More broadly, it connotes readiness for changes in community knowledge, attitudes, motives, policies, and actions about a specific issue.

Environmental Strategies

Environmental strategies are strategies that address, policies, norms, expectations, regulations, and enforcement within a shared environment that focus on population-level change.  These strategies tend to have greater reach (affecting more individuals) and less strength (intensity per individual), be longer in duration, and show more rapid community-wide results than individual-level strategies/programs. Environmental strategies address factors strongly related to and influencing the occurrence and magnitude of substance use and related risk behaviors and their consequences in the community or environment.

Evaluation Plans

Evaluation plans are systematic blueprints detailing all the evaluation aspects of the project as they relate to the strategic plan implementation and outcomes, including the database structures to manage the project data.


Fidelity refers to the degree of fit between the developer-defined elements of a prevention strategy or program and its actual implementation (CSAP 2001). It is an important concept related to evidence-based strategies since they show evidence of change in a specific outcome.

Logic Models

Logic models are graphic depictions of the components of a theory, program, initiative, or activity. It shows the plausible linkages and progression of the theory of change and expected outcomes. For example, a Community Logic Model is a graphic description or map of the relationship between the identified substance abuse problem, the risk/protective factors (intervening variables) and conditions (contributing factors) that contribute to it, and those interventions known to be effective in altering those underlying factors and conditions.

Strategic Plans

Strategic plans at a minimum will: specify the priorities that will be targeted; articulate a vision for activities to address needs; describe infrastructure needed to select and implement interventions; identify resources and training requirements; include plans for sustaining the infrastructure and services; and identify milestones and outcomes against which to gauge performance. Strategic plan development is Step 3 of the SPF.

Evidence-Based Practices, Policies & Programs (EBP's)

The EBP program or practice has produced one or more positive behavioral or environmental outcomes in preventing or reducing substance use among individuals, communities or populations as demonstrated in at least one study using an experimental or quasi-experimental design. The results of these studies have been published in a peer-reviewed journal or have been found effective by the peer-review processes of National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), or the New York Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NY-REPP).

Key Stakeholders

Key stakeholders are all of the members of the community who have a vested interest (a stake) in a substance abuse issue, and the activities or outcomes related to a substance abuse intervention.

Prevention System

Prevention system is the entire set of agencies, organizations, and persons that contribute to efforts to prevent substance abuse and related problems within the community.


Program, practice, or policy that addresses factors strongly related to and influencing the occurrence and magnitude of substance use, its consequences, and related risk behaviors.

Substance Abuse Related Consequences

Consequences are defined as the social, economic and health problems associated with the use of alcohol and illicit drugs, such as illnesses related to alcohol (cirrhosis, fetal effects), drug overdose deaths, crime, and car crashes or suicides related to alcohol or drugs. A simple way to think about Substance Abuse Related Consequences is they are the ultimate result of substance use.  They are the problems caused by substance use/abuse.


Sustainability is the process through which a prevention system becomes a norm and is integrated into ongoing operations. Sustainability is vital to ensuring that prevention values and processes are firmly established, that partnerships are strengthened, and that financial and other resources are secured over the long term. Sustainability is “the process of ensuring an adaptive and effective substance abuse prevention system that achieves long-term results that benefit a target population” (Johnson, Hays, Center, and Daley, 2004). Planning for sustainability requires more than planning for funding. Planning for sustainability should be geared toward maintaining positive outcomes and should involve focusing on elements of the prevention system that need to be maintained/strengthened to meet the needs of a target population with effective prevention interventions. Sustainability is ultimately about long-term capacity and outcomes, not programs, and is another major component of the Strategic Prevention Framework.

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