How We Work

We are an all-volunteer organization, except for our Director and part-time Coordinator, made up of dozens of adult and youth citizens, community leaders, and partnerships.  We work toward creating the healthiest possible community by employing strategies to decrease substance abuse and increase perception of harm.  We donate our time, passion, and skills to help in a variety of ways and are always seeking more citizens, community leaders, and partner organizations who can join with us and strengthen drug prevention work throughout our county and state.  We subscribe to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Strategies Administration’s (SAMHSA) Eight Dimensions of Wellness and utilize the public health methods described below.

“We are honored and proud to be one of only 719 Drug Free Community Coalitions in the United States,” says Director Tammy Nicholson.   

Our Funding:  Our funding comes from SAMHSA‘s Drug Free Community Coalition grant along with matching in-kind and/or financial donations from members of the community and other organizations.  Matching our grant funding each year is a requirement to maintain the grant, so your support is extremely important to us every year.

If you would like to make a financial donation, please mail your check to the United Way of Forsyth County, 240 Elm Street, Cumming GA 30040 with “for the Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council” on the note line of your check. 

If you would like to make an in-kind donation, please contact our Director Tammy Nicholson at (770) 887-1710 or tammy@unitedwayforsyth.com

Our Vision:  To have a healthy substance abuse-free Forsyth County

Our Mission:  To educate, advocate, and empower the community to prevent substance abuse across the lifespan in Forsyth County, Georgia.

Strategies:  Our data-driven, dynamic, public health approach to successful community change strategies is based on the SAMHSA Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) to plan, implement, and evaluate prevention practices and programs. The SPF relies on implementing multiple strategies that address the many factors associated with substance misuse in an effort to create an environment that helps people support healthy decision-making.

What is prevention?

Simply put, drug prevention programs help people to avoid using drugs and developing dependence on them. However, we take a broader view and work to help children, youth, and adults to help them recognize their potential as valuable members of their community. We recognize that there are a number of factors that put individuals at risk for substance abuse, including biological processes, personality traits, mental health disorders, and family neglect or abuse. In addressing these complex factors, prevention must be based on scientific evidence and proven methods. We adhere to developed standards, guidelines and tools to support the development of effective prevention that contributes to the engagement of children, young people and adults with their families, schools, workplaces and community.

 

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Want to join us?  Our general council meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month from 8:00 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. at the United Way, 240 Elm Street, Cumming GA 30040.   Reach out to our Director, Tammy Nicholson, tammy@unitedwayforsyth.com, or our Coordinator, Victoria Ray victoria@unitedwayforsyth.com, for additional information.

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We use SAMHSA’s SPF.  Want to learn more about the Strategic Prevention Framework Model?  It consists of the following:

  • Assessment. Collect data to define problems, resources
    and readiness within a geographic area to address
    needs and gaps.
  • Capacity. Mobilize and/or build capacity within a geographic
    area to address needs.
  • Planning. develop a comprehensive strategic plan that
    includes policies, programs and practices creating a logical,
    data-driven plan to address problems identified in
    assessment.
  • Implementation. Implement evidence-based prevention
    programs, policies, and practices.
  • Evaluation. Measure the impact of the sPF and its implemented
    programs, policies and practices.

Wonder What Type of Strategies We Use?  Here are seven strategies to affect community change:

  1. Provide information—Educational presentations, workshops or seminars and
    data or media presentations (e.g., public service announcements, brochures,
    billboard campaigns, community meetings, town halls, forums, Web-based
    communication).
  2. Enhance skills—Workshops, seminars or activities designed to increase the
    skills of participants, members and staff (e.g., training, technical assistance,
    distance learning, strategic planning retreats, parenting classes, model programs
    in schools).
  3. Provide support—Creating opportunities to support people to participate in
    activities that reduce risk or enhance protection (e.g., providing alternative
    activities, mentoring, referrals for services, support groups, youth clubs, parenting
    groups, Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous).
  4. Enhance access/reduce barriers**—Improving systems and processes to increase
    the ease, ability and opportunity to utilize systems and services (e.g.,
    access to treatment, childcare, transportation, housing, education, special
    needs, cultural and language sensitivity).
  5. Change consequences (incentives/disincentives)—Increasing or decreasing
    the probability of a specific behavior that reduces risk or enhances protection
    by altering the consequences for performing that behavior (e.g., increasing
    public recognition for deserved behavior, individual and business rewards,
    taxes, citations, fines, revocations/loss of privileges).
  6. Change physical design—Changing the physical design or structure of the environment
    to reduce risk or enhance protection (e.g., parks, landscapes, signage,
    lighting, outlet density).
  7. Modify/change policies—Formal change in written procedures, by-laws,
    proclamations, rules or laws with written documentation and/or voting procedures
    (e.g., workplace initiatives, law enforcement procedures and practices,
    public policy actions, systems change within government, communities and
    organizations).

Read more in the Handbook for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions.