Strategic Plan

ADEPT Strategic Plan FY 2018-2023
This strategic plan serves to guide the alcohol and other drug (AOD) prevention services provided by the County of Orange Health Care Agency.

Theoretical Approach

  1. Introduction

    Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team (ADEPT) was formed in 1987 based on the recommendation of the Grand Jury report on Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Services for Youth of Orange County, and a subsequent Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) Organizational Study (Organizational Study, Orange County Drug and Alcohol Problems, Prevention Unit, 1987). ADEPT was charged with conducting and coordinating the County's alcohol and drug prevention program for the County of Orange.

    Since the genesis of ADEPT, the prevention approach in addressing ATOD has shifted from the traditional individual-oriented education to a more community-based approach. In addition, the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP), which disbursed federal funds to county Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) prevention programs and other prevention contractors, promotes the adoption of research or science-based approaches at the county/community level through a five-step process:

    1. Assess: Identify and assess AOD prevention needs/risks based on data related to the specific communities served.

    2. Prioritize: Establish local prevention priorities based upon the local assessment and community input, including input from the culturally diverse populations to be served.

    3. Measurable: Design prevention actions/systems that have clearly stated purposes and desired outcomes that are measurable and sustainable.

    4. Research-based approaches: Select specific implementation strategies, approaches, programs, and actions that research and/or evaluation evidence has demonstrated to be effective in reducing AOD-related problems.

    5. Improvement: Assess progress toward the goals and objectives and use data to continuously refine, improve, and strengthen AOD prevention policies, strategies, services, and actions.

    In addition, an important factor in implementing science-based models is community mobilization to achieve and sustain ATOD prevention activities. The seven-step strategy to community mobilization recommended by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) included:

    1. Mobilize the community/assess community readiness

    2. Conduct a community assessment

    3. Prioritize risk and protective factors or translate data into priorities

    4. Conduct a resources assessment

    5. Focus efforts

    6. Select and implement best practices

    7. Evaluate and utilize information for planning

    It is essential to empower the members of the community to address identified AOD problems, while applying a scientific method to mobilize AOD prevention efforts. At ADEPT, these objectives are achieved through the Public Health Model framework.

  2. The Public Health Model

    ADEPT employs science-based strategies in planning, implementing and evaluating prevention work within the "Public Health Model" framework. The model depicts health problems that arise through the relationships and ongoing interactions among three systems: the agent, the host, and the environment.

    ADEPT endorses this multi-dimensional prevention system and through this framework, it strives to promote and advance development of a comprehensive AOD problem prevention system in Orange County.

    The public health concepts of agent, host, and environment have taken on specific meanings in the field of AOD prevention: the agent is defined as alcoholic beverages and/or other mind-altering drugs ; the host is the individual and/or population group, and the environment is defined as the setting or context in which drinking and other drug-using behavior occurs and includes various social institutions and systems (e.g., legal, economic, family, cultural, ethnic, religious, political, educational, and geographic).

    Prevention system strategies that focus on the agent are aimed at reducing both the supply and the demand for alcohol and other drugs by addressing issues such as: availability and access, advertising and promotion, pricing and taxation, content labeling, and health and safety warning labeling.

    Equally important in a comprehensive prevention system are efforts aimed at reducing the use of alcohol and other drugs by focusing on the host. Prevention strategies are designed to help individuals and/or communities to develop and maintain healthy lifestyles, behaviors, attitudes and knowledge. Also, the strategies assist the host in developing specific life skills, which are critical protective factors in relation to the use of alcohol and other drugs.

    Prevention efforts that focus on the environmental sub-system seek to encourage communities to mobilize its organizational and political resources to change negative environmental factors related to AOD use. Prevention practitioners, in collaboration with grassroots organizations and public policymakers, advocate appropriate actions, policies and procedures to improve the well being of the community. The Marin Institute identifies four core areas that influence alcohol problems that effective environmental prevention can impact. These are community norms, access and availability, media messages, and policy and enforcement.

  3. Risk and Protective Factors Planning Model

    Another important development in prevention theory that emerged from the public health orientation is the conceptualization of the risk and protective factors. A substantial body of research as demonstrated that: 1) the more risk factors a child or youth experiences, such as family history of substance use or residence in neighborhoods where substance use is tolerated, the more likely it is that she or he will experience substance abuse and related problems in adolescence or young adulthood; 2) certain protective factors, such as strong family bonds and success in school, serve to buffer risk factors and help safeguard young people from substance use and abuse; and 3) the more the risk factors in a child's life can be reduced and/or the more protective factors that can be provided, the less vulnerable that child will be to subsequent health and social problems. Building developmental assets and enhancing protective factors is viewed as a more promising approach because it emphasizes positive elements in individuals and environments.

    Research and studies on ATOD prevention, have identified risk and protective factors within each of the basic domains of life experience (individual, peer, family, school, community, and society). The ADEPT policy orientation favors prevention efforts that focus on broader environmental conditions (the community/society domain) of risk and/or protection, which influence all age groups. Factors identified as potential risk/protective may include all or some of these factors: School/Work, Parents, Faith, Law Enforcement, Media/Ads, Merchants/Business, City Regulations, Knowledge of Consequences, Peers, Medical Community, Risk and Protective Factor Matrix.

  4. Institute of Medicine Model

    In efforts to focus the prevention method, it is also essential to identify program/strategies that will best reach the target audience. Recently, SAMHSA introduced the Institute of Medicine Continuum of Care model for prevention and treatment of ATOD.

    The prevention intervention portion of the Intervention Spectrum is directed at persons who have no AOD dependency. The prevention component of the IOM Spectrum has three identified focused prevention groups. These include: Universal, Selective, and Indicated. The Universal Prevention addresses the entire population (i.e., local community, schools) and interventions are aimed at persons who are not identified at special risk for developing AOD dependency. The Selective Prevention targets subsets of the population (i.e., children of alcoholics, dropouts) deemed at risk for developing AOD problems. The last sub-group within the prevention category on the Spectrum of Intervention is Indicated Prevention which is designed to focus prevention efforts on persons who show minimal signs or symptoms of AOD dependency but the individuals do not meet the criteria of addiction.

  5. Conclusion

    ADEPT has adopted the Public Health Model framework to address AOD issues by incorporating the above elements science-based approach and strategies in its current approach to reduce AOD problems. ADEPT is committed to increase the well being of the Orange County resident by committing the organization to a long-term course of developing its capabilities to implement research-based programming throughout Orange County with a focus on youth development and community-base approach.

Page Last Updated: March 6, 2019