|Survey Finds Mayors Support is Key to Reducing Local Substance
By Jubi Headley
The leadership and support of the nations mayors is crucial to the success of community-based efforts to fight substance abuse-this is among the principal findings of a new national survey conducted by Join Together, a national project at the Boston University School of Public Health which helps communities reduce substance abuse and gun violence.
The survey found that in communities where respondents feel that the substance abuse situation is improving, mayors had increased their attention to the problem over the past two years. These communities were also significantly more likely to have an office in city government specifically charged with reducing substance abuse, as well as an annual report on substance abuse prepared by the city government.
"We commend the work that many Mayors are already doing to reduce substance abuse in their communities," said David L. Rosenbloom, Director of Join Together. "We hope our findings will encourage Mayors who have not yet taken a more visible leadership role on this issue to do so now, to help local groups achieve long-term success."
Other factors which impact a communitys success include:
The survey also identified a real disconnect between the Clinton Administrations newly-released national drug control strategy and the policies that community leaders say they need. A majority of respondents support a shift in federal spending toward more demand reduction activities-including prevention, education and treatment-and less focus on supply reduction efforts such as international interdiction and law enforcement.
In addition, community leaders said they want new restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising, increased taxes on alcohol, more widespread availability of treatment, strong local law enforcement and mandatory treatment for people convicted of low level crimes who have substance abuse addictions.
The survey findings include the responses of more than 4,000 community coalition leaders working to reduce substance abuse and gun violence in every Congressional district. This is the fourth time Join Together has conducted this survey over the past six years.
To obtain a free copy of the latest report, Promising Strategies, call Join Together at (617) 437-1500 or send an