Taking Charge
See Taking Charge: Managing Community Alcohol and Drug Risk Environments. This planning manual provides step-by-step information to apply the Three Actor Model using the SPF Five Step planning approach.
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Date of last update: 01/19/07

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Planning Guide

The Five Steps and the accompanying Planning guide summarized below provide an excellent path for community planning to manage environments at risk for alcohol-drug related problems. The Five Steps combine the elements of many successful prevention methods and help local planners meet federal requirements for research-based planning that uses funding from the US Dept of Health and Human Services' CSAP Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant funds, and from the US Dept of Education Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities funds.

Following this summary, the Prevention by Design Planning Guide is provided in the form of several links that support planning for each Step.

The Five Steps

Step 1:


  • Identify areas of concern for community AOD problems;
  • Collect and analyze relevant data to define the local magnitude and locations of problems, identify target populations and environments and assess resources;
  • Rank AOD problems according to community need and health / safety criteria,
  • Share data and ranked concerns with the community.
Step 2:

Capacity Building

  • A ssess readiness, capacity, and stakeholder resources and leadership to implement and sustain prevention initiatives;
  • Engage and mobilize local resources (financial and organizations) to address assessed needs. This may include convening partnerships or coalitions.
  • Build readiness, cultural competency, and leadership among prevention partners through education and training.
  • Prioritize AOD concerns.
Step 3:


  • Set priorities for action on AOD problems;
  • Identify strategies for use with target populations and/or high-risk settings;
  • Use assessment data to develop a county strategic plan that includes effective policies, programs, and practices.
  • Identify strategic goals, objectives, and measurements; logic models are useful tools.
  • Prepare work plans for implementation, including evaluation plans.


Step 4:


  • Carry out the plan(s) developed in Step 3 above
  • As appropriate, issue RFPs / RFAs, etc. to carry out the work of the plan;
  • Documenting the work plan’s process and activities according to the evaluation plan;
  • Modify (and document) implementation as needed to achieve project goals and objectives.


Step 5: Evaluate
  • Activate evaluation plan designed above;
  • Collect, analyze and report evaluation data to analyze processes and outcomes for the programs, policies, and practices being implemented in Step 4.
  • Share evaluation data and review with stakeholders.
  • Use evaluation findings to refine and improve prevention services.
These steps are designe d to be ongoing and overlapping, so that each prevention program is producing consistent measures of its success as well as constantly evaluating and improving its methods and outcomes.

The Planning Guide

You can download the entire planning guide – or just the parts you want – below, just click on the links.

If you would like a binder with all of the tip sheets and other resources sent to you, send a check for $35.00 payable to the UC Regents along with your name and address to Friedner Wittman.

Step One - Assessment

Creating a Data Map
Focus Groups
Problem Prioritization

Step Two - Capacity Building

Community Engagement Strategies

Community Readiness
Community Readiness Attachment A
Community Readiness Attachment B
Community Readiness Attachment C
Community Readiness Attachment D
Community Readiness Attachment E

Culture and Diversity

Step Three - Planning

Logic Models
Developing Goals and Objectives
Logic Model Terminology
Action Plans
Model Programs
Searching for Model Programs
Strategic Planning

Step Four - Implementation

RFP Evaluation Criteria

Step Five - Evaluation

Introduction to Evaluation
Resources for Analyzing Evaluation Options
Working with an Outside Evaluator
Selecting Appropriate Outcomes
Types of Evaluation
Evaluation Methods
Evaluation Plan Template
Evaluation Terminology
Evaluation References


Prevention Science Terminology
Acronym Glossary

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