In 1989 the Robert Wood Johnson (RWJ) Foundation began a $24.6 million program community-based alcohol and drug abuse elimination project, called “Fighting Back.” Along with the U.S. Dept HHS, Community Substance Abuse Program (CSAP), the Fighting Back projects were alternative approaches to the Police War on Drugs. The 15 RWJ communities were given up to $200,000 for two-year planning grants to develop community-based organizations that would focus on better coordinating existing resources and attracting new resources to address high-density alcohol sales, drug trafficking, and drug abuse in low-income middle size communities. In the first year implementation phase, each project was given up to $700,000. None were to provide direct services; each organization was a catalyst for social change.The initial theories used to begin this project were community empowerment and resource mobilization. Based upon site visits and in-depth interviews, this chapter reviews the lessons learned from organizing such projects based upon these theories. We review the strategies used to successfully address their central challenges and these theory's utility. The RWJ and CSAP projects suggested a variation of community empowerment where consensus among keys players in and outside of each community was a precondition to community mobilization. Also community empowerment and resource mobilization were not sufficient. Through trial and error, each project learned important new lessons and strategies that were already available in other theories — collaboration, exchange, and general theory of race relations. It is suggested that use of additional theories based on prior experiences in successfully mobilizing the community could have further improved the successes of the RWJ and CSAP projects.
Bowser, B., Deborah Whittle, K. and Rosenbloom, D. (2001), "Fighting drug and alcohol abuse in communities and improving race relations: Theoretical lessons learned", Hartwell, S. and Schutt, R. (Ed.) The Organizational Response to Social Problems (Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Vol. 8), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 167-194. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0196-1152(01)80010-7Download as .RIS
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