The SPF comprises five key steps:
- SPF Step 1: Assessment involves gathering and examining data about substance abuse and related problems, conditions, and consequences in the community
- SPF Step 2: Capacity Building helps communities acquire the needed resources and readiness to support their chosen strategies
- SPF Step 3: Strategic Planning focuses the energy of your group by ensuring that members are working toward the same goals, and allows you to assess and adjust your programmatic direction as needed
- SPF Step 4: Implementation involves creating a written action plan that details how a strategy will be implemented, who the implementers are, what training and consultation needs they will have, and what administrative support is required for implementation
- SPF Step 5: Evaluation involves collecting and analyzing information about program activities, characteristics, and outcomes; you’ll also evaluate the entire five-step process to show how each step of the SPF connects to the steps around it
Although presented here as sequential steps, the SPF model is a circular process with substantial overlap among the five components.
Two cross-cutting themes apply to each step:
- All activities within each step should be completed in a culturally competent manner that is responsive to the cultural contexts of the community and includes community members
- All activities within each step should be as sustainable as possible, so that the ongoing cycle of assessment, capacity building, strategy planning, implementation, and evaluation can be repeated as communities change and new substance abuse prevention priorities develop
Communities in Massachusetts conducting these efforts with substance misuse and abuse prevention grants from the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services are required to incorporate the SPF model into their plans. Other organizations and groups may also find the SPF model useful in designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions addressing substance misuse and abuse.