What is the North Carolina SPF SIG?
The Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (NC SPF SIG) is SAMHSA’s major demonstration project of their new Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) and CSAP’s flagship initiative. The SIG is a five-year cooperative agreements from CSAP to states. States receive up to $2.35 million per year for five years of which 85% must go to communities and 15% for State administration activities including a state-wide needs assessment and evaluation. There are several required components to the SPF SIG including:

  • A State epidemiological workgroup
  • A State advisory board
  • It must be data driven planning to set state/local priorities
  • A funding mechanism for targeting communities
  • Must address underage drinking in their needs assessment
  • Must focus on outcome-based prevention

In 2005, North Carolina was among the second cohort of states to receive a SPF SIG grant from CSAP.

National & State SPF SIG Goals
The overarching National goals of the SPF SIG grants are to:

  • Prevent onset and reduce the progression of substance abuse, including underage drinking,
  • Reduce substance-related problems in communities,
  • Build prevention capacities/infrastructure at State and community level,

and ultimately to,

  • Implement a process of infusing data across all SPF steps for improved decision-making

These same goals apply at the state level as well, with a targeted focus on reducing alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. Therefore, all SPF SIG funded communities are using data to build infrastructure and inform the implementation of strategies (including environmental management strategies) that will lead to a decrease in alcohol related motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in their communities.

What is the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF)?
The SPF is a SAMHSA-wide planning model for prevention that is relevant for substance abuse, mental health promotion, and other prevention areas. It incorporates the collection and use of data at all steps and requires that throughout the process, cultural competency and sustainability of efforts are addressed. It consists of five basic steps:

  • Needs Assessment
  • Capacity Building
  • Strategic Planning
  • Implementation of Evidence-Based Programs, Policies, and Practices (EBPPPs)
  • Evaluation and Monitoring

As can been seen in Figure 1 below, these steps are part of a circular process. Beginning with the assessment, States must first conduct a state-wide needs assessment of indicators and outcomes of substance use including alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD). Next the building of capacity at the state level is required, then the development of a strategic plan to address the priorities, the implementation of the plan, and finally the evaluation. As with most processes, however, some of these steps may occur simultaneously with other steps. For example, capacity building may occur while the needs assessment is also occurring or the planning is occurring. Data are used throughout to drive both the focus of prevention efforts and the types of prevention effort. Both the process and the outcome are important and data are to be used to direct, modify, and assess efforts through out the process.

Figure 1: SAMSHA’s Strategic Prevention Framework

The State Epidemiological Workgroup (SEW)
The SEW members invited to take part in the needs assessment process were selected based on their knowledge of and ability to work with substance-related data. The workgroup consists of a broad array of experts—from research institutions, government agencies, and private organizations—who have experience working with data that can be used to track the social and health status of North Carolinians. Specifically, the group includes members of the North Carolina Treatment Outcomes & Program Performance System (NC-TOPPS) initiative, which assesses the treatment needs in the state, and a staff person responsible for the state’s Underage Drinking Initiatives. In addition, the lead evaluator is a member of the SEW to ensure that data collection efforts are linked to the evaluation efforts. Membership was also chosen to reflect as many state agencies as possible, while keeping the group relatively small. Diversity on the SEW reflects this effort, with a mix of data analysts, epidemiologists, prevention experts, and state agency representatives.
Thus, it may be seen that the SEW membership brings systematic, analytic thinking to the causes and consequences of substance use in order to effectively and efficiently use substance abuse prevention resources. The SEW informs problem identification and goal-setting processes, helps drive prevention planning and funding decisions at the state and community levels, and provides critical information in appropriate formats to federal and state agencies for ongoing planning, monitoring, and evaluation of prevention efforts.
The SEW also was charged with determining the state’s data needs and collecting and analyzing data to highlight areas of focus, interpreting the analyses and using them to assist in formulating priority areas. The group also is responsible for providing data and information and making recommendations to the SPF SIG Advisory Board (known in North Carolina as the Cooperative Agreement Advisory Board, or CAAB) and other key stakeholders. Finally, the SEW is charged with assisting in community-level assessment activities.

Cooperative Agreement Advisory Board (CAAB)
The CAAB is an advisory group for the NC SPF SIG project. Its role is to provide the Division with ongoing guidance and input on key project developments and activities. The CAAB is chaired by Carmen Hooker-Odem, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. CAAB members include representatives from the Department of Public Instruction, Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, Department of Crime Control & Public Safety, National Guard, and the North Carolina Parent Resource Center.