Description of Strategy
A coalition is a group of individuals who align in a formal, organized way to address issues of shared concern over time. “Coalitions often include local government officials, nonprofit agency and business leaders, and interested citizens” (Zakocs & Edwards, 2006). Coalitions offer a unique opportunity for community members to define, identify, and implement solutions for local substance abuse problems. One example of an effective coalition from the traffic safety community is Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). This coalition has actively worked to reduce impaired driving since the 1980s (National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives, 2001).
Also known as...
Youth empowerment, tobacco coalition, tobacco prevention coalition
Discussion of Effectiveness
The evidence is unclear on the effectiveness of coalition building as a solo strategy for preventing alcohol abuse. Findings are supportive for alcohol outcomes when coalition building is part of a multi-component strategy with many environmental prevention programs (Guide to Community Preventive Services, 2010; Weitzman, Nelson, Lee, & Wechsler, 2004). However, a systematic review evaluating the components of an effective coalition cautioned against drawing conclusions about associations between coalitions and population-level outcomes. This is due to the wide variations in indicators of coalition effectiveness and coalition-building factors examined across relatively few studies, discrepancies in how these variables were measured, and the studies’ reliance on cross sectional designs (Zakocs & Edwards, 2006).
Additional research is needed to evaluate the effectiveness of coalition building as a prevention strategy for tobacco and other drugs.