June 20, 2017
Before taking action, consider who else may have an interest or connection to the drug-related issues in your community, and what they could offer your team.
Think laterally. Ask yourself: “Who does our target group come in contact with?”
There are many people and organisations who might already be working on AOD prevention in your community, or whose work touches on the risk and protective factors that influence drug-related harm. These include:
Some of these people can provide recommendations on how to start while others might be in a position to take on leadership, coordination or information-gathering roles.
Some organisations could provide facilities, resources or services as part of their existing work, or you might find that they are already running activities that you have planned. In this case, think about how you can work together to run complementary programs and develop a whole-of-community approach.
Information is a powerful ingredient when planning. Generally, the more the better. Good information increases the chances of your project responding to what’s actually going on; as opposed to being based on sometimes unchallenged and long-held misconceptions, media reports, or limited anecdotal evidence around an AOD problem.
Good data also helps you build a story that explains the imperative for action. This will help you gather support from others and funding for your program. Gathering data is a particularly important step in program planning, as not having a clear idea of the problem is a common stumbling block for many local prevention efforts.
Gather more information on:
These organisations are good sources of information:
Information from these sources can be supplemented with your own research conducted through local surveys or focus groups.
Drug issues tend to be very emotive, and many people have strong opinions. While it may be tempting to jump straight to designing solutions there is another recommended step to take – engaging with the community.
It’s better to get to know people one-on-one and engage relevant organisations from the start of your planning.
Once relationships have been established, and sufficient information on local patterns of drug use has been gathered, it can be useful to hold a scoping meeting to:
One of the stakeholder organisations, like the local council, may be able to provide a venue and help promote this meeting. Strategies like inviting an interesting speaker, or timing the meeting to coincide with the launch of a report or a national awareness day, can help attract interest.