Environmental prevention: policy

Earlier today my blog topic was environmental prevention. During the DFC New Grantee Training, I attended a workshop about promoting policies that are proven to reduce youth substance abuse. Policy advocacy is considered an environmental prevention strategy.

The session started off with the question, "What policies (at what level?) can help make the population-level change you want to make in your community?" There are many settings within a community in which policy can make a difference.

When planning to advocate for policy change, it's important for coalition's to also ask themselves:

-- Is this winnable?

-- Is there energy behind it?

-- Is it worth the effort?

At least in the beginning of policy advocacy work, it is essential that coalition's find success to keep and build momentum.

The workshop went on to discuss different policies to address different factors contributing to youth substance abuse. Below are two factors present in northeast Seattle.

The last part of the workshop dealt with the steps to take when advocating for policy.

Policy advocacy is best when many voices are heard. A high level of support behind a policy is extremely important and it needs to be seen and recognized by the community and policy-makers.
The entire handout from the workshop if available on the coalition's website.