The Drug Abuse Initiative relates to MAP Initiative Number 1: Linking Learning, Health, and Prosperity. This MAP Initiative promotes a community-based approach to health and wellness, exactly what the Drug Abuse Initiative will try to establish within the Industry neighborhood. More specifically, the Drug Abuse Initiative relates to Action 10: Create a Healthy Community Initiative. Action 10 seeks to share information about health services and the specific health problems faced by the Muncie community. In the Industry neighborhood, these steps will take the form of an anti-drug campaign, aimed at both halting current and preventing future drug use.
Why this is important
This initiative was developed after a meeting of Industry’s Neighborhood Association, at which several residents identified drug abuse as a problem within the community. This initiative was given a high priority level by the residents and students.
The Drug Abuse Initiative is important for the neighborhood because it seeks to make residents aware of how they can take a stand against drug use in their community. Through action largely aimed at Industry’s youth population, future drug use in the neighborhood will hopefully decline. Additionally, by identifying the neighborhood’s drug “hotspots”, this initiative seeks to reduce current levels of drug use and drug violations within Industry.
What this will involve
To solve Industry’s drug abuse problem, the neighborhood should form an organization of individuals and groups interested in resolving the issue. In Case Study One (found below), an organization was formed and included twenty neighborhood activists, a representative from the city councilman’s office, and two police officers. The organization outlined in Case Study Two consisted of law enforcement officers, prosecutors, youth-serving organizations, elected and civic leaders, businesses, and clergy members. It will ultimately be up to the people of Industry to determine who composes their group, but it should include those individuals most able to contribute to the activities outlined below. Special consideration should be given to volunteers with prior knowledge of combating the local drug problem.
This organization should hold regular meetings, preferably weekly in the program’s early stages and will be in charge of planning anti-drug activities, including the following:
• Drug-free marches
• Neighborhood patrols
• Regular street clean-ups
• Block parties
• Community training (how to contact the police and how to patrol the streets)
• Environmental manipulations (fixing street lights, locking up vacant lots, painting over graffiti, and establishing drug-free zones)
• Encouraging special law enforcement activities (establishing an increased police presence within the neighborhood and coordinating officer-led educational classes)
The most important aspect of this initiative will be an anti-drug program that targets the neighborhood’s youth population. It will be modeled off of Milwaukee’s Safe and Sound Program, further outlined below in Case Study Two. The Neighborhood’s Anti-Drug Coalition will also be in charge of administering this program, with the basic goal of providing local youth with alternative after-school events. Programming should be centered on two main things: drug-free educational activities and interaction with adult mentors who can both provide support and a safe outlet for youth to report known drug users. Ideally, this programming would occur each weekday, as after school hours represent the time when young people are most likely to experiment with drugs. However, as coordinators determine scheduling feasibility and volunteer availability, programming may have to be reduced to several days a week or even several times a month. Possible locations for youth programming activities can be viewed on the suitability map which accompanies the Building Neighborhood Relationships Initiative.
For this initiative, the Industry neighborhood’s Anti-Drug Coalition will be in charge of setting goals and developing project timelines as they develop official programming and secure funding sources.
While many of these activities will be run by volunteers and would be free, funding for special events and programming supplies can be provided through grants from the Ball Brothers Foundation, the Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, and the Delaware County Prevention Council. Applications for the Ball Brothers Foundation and the Community Foundation can be found online. Applications for the Delaware County Prevention Council can be obtained by calling the organization. All necessary websites and contact information can be found in the next section.
Contact information for funding/assistance sources
Ball Brothers Foundation
222 South Mulberry Street
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 741-5500
Contact: Ms. Donna Munchel, Grant Process Manager
Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County
201 E. Jackson Street
Muncie, IN 47305
Phone: (765) 747-7181
Fax: (765) 289-7770
Contact: Ms. Cheryl Decker
Delaware County Prevention Council
3595 North Briarwood Lane
Muncie, Indiana 47304
Phone: (765) 282-7988
Fax: (765) 289-8020
Contact: Patricia Hart, Executive Director
The suitability map Drug Violations per Census Block is extremely important in helping to combat neighborhood drug use. Each of the neighborhood’s Census Blocks are shaded in a degree of red, with lighter reds indicating fewer drug violations and darker reds indicating more numerous violations. Areas of high drug use within the Industry neighborhood can be targeted for greater levels of police patrol, neighborhood watch activities, and drug-intervention programs. A targeted focus will do more to reduce the neighborhood’s drug problem than randomly administered programming.
Case Study One
In this case study, the residents of an inner-city San Diego neighborhood joined together in an organizing effort to reduce the alcohol and drug abuses taking place near their homes. The two main goals of the effort were to empower neighbors to address their problems by working together and to reduce or eliminate illegal drug activity.
The researcher only followed the program for the first six months but garnered these important insights:
The efforts described in this case study began after neighborhood Head Start staff asked organizers to come into the community and solve its extensive drug problems. The staff felt that the substance abuse issue had reached dangerous levels and that the neighborhood children were no longer safe. The organizers who were asked to participate were affiliated with a local school of social work and had been a part of a previous city-wide drug reduction effort.
The project’s inaugural event was a meeting which took place between neighborhood residents, organizers, the local police department, and Head Start staff. Subsequent weekly meetings for all interested parties continued after this point. At the initial meeting, strategies for drug reduction were formulated and it was decided that the following core group would be placed in charge of implementing initiatives: twenty neighborhood activists, a representative from the city councilman’s office, and two police officers.
It was also decided that the neighborhood’s alcohol and drug problem would be solved in two main ways: coalition building and environmental changes. Coalition building “focused on establishing linkages among neighborhood residents, Head Start staff, city officials, schools, police and other law enforcement agencies, and professional organizations. Environmental strategies focused on both the physical and social environment.”
An increased police presence in the neighborhood was a major part of the coalition building initiative. As positive relationships were built between the police and the residents, police could gain intelligence information from the locals who knew the area’s drug dealers and drug houses.
The coalition building initiative also strove to establish a relationship with the press in order to shine light on the neighborhood’s drug problem and put pressure on residents to continue their efforts. In addition, new relationships were formed with city officials who could provide amenities like street lights. These activities came at no cost to the neighborhood but rather, simply focused on relationship building.
The environmental change initiative focused on physical manipulations such as “fixing broken street lights, removing graffiti, and removing trash daily.” The city of San Diego paid for these environmental change initiatives whenever possible.
Major program activities included: a drug-free march, establishing a neighborhood patrol, regular street clean-ups, block parties, community training (how to contact the police, how to patrol the streets, and how to conduct meetings), environmental manipulations (fixing street lights, locking up vacant lots, painting over graffiti, and establishing a drug-free zone), special law enforcement activities (multi-agency raids, undercover operations, decoy operations, and use of a mobile police station trailer), and additional media coverage.
Due to a lack of funding, it was difficult to create systems for judging program success. The main way of doing so was to poll residents at weekly meetings. Typically, as the drug reduction efforts progressed, residents reported high levels of improvement in their neighborhood. Additionally, the neighborhood began to have a safer and cleaner appearance.
Case Study Two
The City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin runs a youth-targeted, crime and drug reduction program by the name of Safe and Sound. More specifically, the program “is a partnership of law enforcement, prosecutors, youth-serving organizations, elected and civic leaders, businesses, city services, and clergy aimed at reducing drug use and crime and rebuilding neighborhoods.” Safe and Sound connects the city’s young residents with the aforementioned groups for support and also, in the hopes of providing them with a safe outlet for reporting criminal activity, youth gang affiliation, and substance abuse.
The program utilizes three co-dependent strategies to deter youth drug use: safe locations for youth to go after school (known as Safe Places), neighborhood organizing (largely in the form of door-to-door visits), and tougher law enforcement.
Safe and Sound is now a long-running program. According to its website, “Safe & Sound was established in 1998 as a pilot initiative to reduce crime, especially violent crime, in high-crime, generally low-income neighborhoods through strong public-private partnerships.”
At present, the program has expanded to 21 neighborhoods within the City of Milwaukee. Through its after-school programming, Safe and Sound provides youth with a place to go during the hours when they are “most apt to commit, or become victims of, crime.” Additionally, these programs allow Milwaukee’s youth population to engage in “crime reduction and neighborhood improvement projects, drug and alcohol prevention activities, and gang resistance and violence prevention efforts.”
In order to ensure the success of Safe and Sound in its drug and crime reduction efforts, community organizers “conduct year-round door-to-door visits in high-crime neighborhoods to listen to and address the individual concerns of residents.” Perhaps more importantly, “these organizers recruit youth to attend Safe Places,” thereby potentially removing them from a drug-rich environment. To further reduce drug use and crime, the organizers establish block watches and neighborhood initiatives.
The main goal of this program is to foster collaboration between a community’s troubled, drug-prone youth and its responsible adult population. In April of 2010, the Milwaukee High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) received the Outstanding HIDTA Prevention Effort award for the Safe & Sound program and its success in reducing youth drug use. The efforts of this program are largely funded by individual and corporate sponsors.