Evaluation of a Community Approach to Address Substance Abuse in Appalachia

Document Type


Publication Date



The purpose of this study was to evaluate a conference based program designed to enable 26 Appalachian teams to create intervention plans to address substance abuse in their communities. In March 2006, 26 Appalachian teams attended a conference to address substance abuse in their region. Teams of four to seven stakeholders generated community plans. The teams were evaluated 8 months later using a framework based on an adaptation of the Health Belief Model. Team leaders participated in structured telephone interviews. Results of this study found that the most common benefit to promulgating plans was community support. The most indicated barrier was time. The majority of teams believed that their community was susceptible to substance abuse problems. The cues that were most responsible for action were public awareness campaigns that emphasized the problems associated with substance abuse. The common denominator for team success was the ability to recruit key stakeholders and the ability to integrate with other organizations. The results of this study suggest that substance abuse is a threat to the health of the region. More effort on the part of communities will be needed to solve this problem. It will not be solved by a single agency, philosophy or program strategy, but must include multiple stakeholder participation.