Assessment involves the systematic gathering and examination of data about substance abuse and related problems, conditions, and consequences in the community. Assessing the problem means pinpointing where the problems are in the community and the populations that are affected. It also means examining the conditions that put a community at risk and identifying conditions that can protect against those problems.
Practitioners engaged in a comprehensive substance abuse assessment need to collect information related to:
- Population needs, including levels of substance abuse and its related problems
- Available resources to support prevention efforts
- Community readiness to address identified prevention problems or needs
Based on their assessment of need, resources, and readiness, practitioners can identify one or more prevention priorities on which to focus their prevention efforts.
From SPF: Step 1. Assess Needs by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.