Fawcett, S.B., Lewis, R.K., Paine-Andrews, A., Francisco, V.T., Richter, K.P., & Williams, E.L., Copple, B. (December 1997). Evaluating community coalitions for the prevention of substance abuse: the case of project freedom. Health Education & Behavior, 24(6), 812-828


In the United States alone, there are more than 2,000 community coalitions to address local concerns about abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. This article describes an evaluation system used to examine the process, outcome, and impact of coalitions for the prevention of substance abuse. The evaluation addresses five key questions: (a) Was the community mobilized to address substance abuse (Process)? (b) What changes in the community resulted from the coalition (Outcome)? (c) Is there a change in reported use of alcohol and other substances by youths (Outcome)? (d) Does the coalition have a community-level impact on substance abuse (Impact)? And (e) Is community-level impact related to changes facilitated by the coalition (Impact)? To address these and other questions, using eight core measurement instruments, the evaluation system collects 15 distinct measures. This evaluation system is illustrated with a multiyear study of Project Freedom, a substance abuse coalition in a large midwestern city.